OTTAWA -- The offensively challenged Ottawa Senators needed an heroic performance from their early-season MVP to keep their losing streak from reaching three games.
Craig Anderson rose to the occasion.
After watching Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets from the bench, Anderson returned to the crease for his 11th start in 13 games. He made it his best, kicking aside 42 shots as the Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place.
It was Anderson's second shutout of the season and 21st of his career.
Erik Karlsson and Erik Condra scored the goals, both coming in the second period.
The loss was the Sabres' fifth in their past seven games, leaving them with a 5-8-1 record. Ottawa improved to 7-4-2.
The Senators entered the night having scored just seven times in their previous five games, four of which came in a victory over the Sabres exactly a week earlier.
Included in the hardships were a pair of 1-0 shutouts at the hands of backup goalies.
Quite obviously, they were missing top center Jason Spezza, who watched from the press box while recovering from back surgery.
Fortunately for them, they still have a healthy Karlsson.
The defending Norris Trophy winner scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season, and the first short-handed goal of his career, with a hard shot from just outside the right wing faceoff circle to break a scoreless deadlock 15:20 into the second period.
It was the Senators' first goal in a span of 121:15, dating back two games, and it was quickly followed by another.
Condra picked up his second of the season 1:54 later, swatting home a puck that found him in the slot.
The way Anderson was playing, that was all the Senators would need.
Anderson, who has the best goals-against average and save percentage of any No. 1 goalie in the league, kept his team in the game the first 20 minutes, when the Senators were outshot 13-7 despite having a couple of power plays. His most incredible stop was off Steve Ott, whose shot was floating toward an open net before Anderson reached back and knocked it away.
With Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff in the box, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made huge saves off Mika Zibanejad and Daniel Alfredsson, then got lucky as a puck bounced over Kyle Turris' stick as Turris was poised to swat it into an open side.
The Senators left immediately after the game for Pittsburgh, where they meet up with the Penguins on Wednesday night. The Sabres begin a three-game homestand against the Boston Bruins on Friday.
NOTES: Senators captain Alfredsson is tied with Dallas Stars winger Jaromir Jagr as the greatest Buffalo slayer of all time. Both players have 42 career goals against the Sabres, more than anyone else, although Alfredsson has played 88 games vs. Buffalo while Jagr has suited up for just 76. ... Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers was back in the lineup after sitting out the previous two games as a healthy scratch. "I've had a couple of really good meetings with him, trying to get his head in the right place, being ready to play," coach Lindy Ruff said of Myers, a former first-round pick who has one goal and a team worst minus-9 rating through 12 games. "Now it's up to him." ... With Spezza recovering from surgery, his assistant captain's "A' has been worn by the player whom coach Paul MacLean feels earns it on a daily basis. Against the Sabres, it was on the sweater of defenseman Marc Methot, who was playing just his 13th game for Ottawa. ... John Scott, T.J. Brennan and Alexander Sulzer were the Sabres' scratches. Andre Benoit was the Senators' designated sitter.