Senators 2, Sabres 1

Don Brennan, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OTTAWA -- Center Zack Smith scored his team-leading third game-winning goal of the season in the Ottawa Senators' 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
Smith took a pass from center Kyle Turris and roofed a shot just under the crossbar at 6:39 of the second period for his fifth goal of the season. Ottawa (13-14-6) held on to avenge a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sabres (7-23-2) earlier this week in Buffalo.
Winger Bobby Ryan scored for the Senators and added an assist for a two-point night. Turris also had two assists.
Center Tyler Ennis had the Sabres' goal.
Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 40 saves, including on breakaways by Sabres center Steve Ott and winger Drew Stafford.
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made 30 stops.
The win pulled the Senators to within three points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Sabres had a chance to tie the score when Senators winger Milan Michalek went off for slashing with 2:03 left in the third period, but they couldn't get the puck past Anderson. Buffalo was 1 of 5 with the man advantage and Ottawa was 0-for-3 on the power play.
Ryan opened the scoring with his team-leading 15th goal of the season at 9:22 of the first period.
From the left-wing, offensive-zone faceoff circle, Ryan sent a backhand pass through the slot that failed to find the stick of winger Cory Conacher. The puck was retrieved by center Kyle Turris, who sent it back into the slot area where Ryan was cruising between two Buffalo defenders. He finished the bang-bang play by one-timing a shot into a wide-open side of the net.
Ennis tied the score a little more than eight minutes later with the Sabres on a power play. From behind the net, he stepped out to Anderson's left and then jammed a shot between the goalie's skates for his seventh goal of the season.
NOTES: Sabres C Cody Hodgson missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury he sustained in Tuesday's game against Ottawa. Hodgson is Buffalo's second leading scorer with eight goals and 10 assists in 31 games. ... Senators D Joe Corvo was playing the 700th game of his career. The 11th anniversary of his first is Saturday, when Ottawa hosts his original team, the Los Angeles Kings. "I remember it, I was playing against Mario Lemieux," said Corvo. "I was in a little over my head." ... Senators D Jared Cowen served the first of a two-game suspension he received for an illegal hit to the head of Sabres W Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday. Senators D Marc Methot (flu) was also unable to play, forcing the team to call up D Cody Ceci for his first NHL game. Ceci, an Ottawa native, was the Senators first round pick (15th overall) in the 2012 entry draft. ... Sabres LW Matt Moulson is 3-for-3 in shootouts this season and his career 63.2 percent success rate (12-for-19) leads all active NHLers who have had at least three shootout chances.

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