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Game Recap

Senators 3, Sabres 2, SO

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Senators 3, Sabres 2, SO
Ottawa Senators 3, Buffalo Sabres 2

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Neither weather nor the absence of two of their top offensive players could stop the Ottawa Senators.

Alex Kovalev and Mike Fisher scored in the shootout, and the Senators beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Saturday night after being stuck in Ottawa the entire morning.

The Senators, who didn't land in Buffalo until around noon after their flight was delayed because of freezing rain, rebounded from an 8-2 loss Wednesday night at Pittsburgh, and played their first game without both captain Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, who has been out with a knee injury. Alfredsson separated his shoulder in the first period against the Penguins and will be lost for at least a month.

"It was a different day today," said Pascal Leclaire, who made 20 saves before stopping Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly in the shootout. "With our key guys missing, we obviously have to step up a little bit. Everybody goes through it, but it's up to the guys that are playing to raise our game a little bit."

Because of the bad weather, the Senators were unable to skate in the morning after having the past two days off due to the Christmas break. They found their legs early, though, outshooting the Sabres by a whopping 19-1 margin in the first period.

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was the only reason why the period ended scoreless, but his sparkling play didn't frustrate the Senators, who won for the seventh straight time over the Sabres.

"We play them tough and we play them well," said Fisher, who snapped a wrist shot over Miller's glove in the second round of the shootout. "We seem to not give them a whole lot. We're ready for the challenge against them."

Kovalev beat Miller in the first round with a nifty backhand off a deke that also went over the goalie's glove.

"We came out with a lot of energy," Fisher said. "We pressed their defencemen, and they didn't have much time. They turned the puck over and we capitalized on that. If it wasn't for Miller we'd have had a few in the first."

Ryan Shannon and Chris Neil scored in regulation for the Senators (19-15-4).

Vanek and Jason Pominville scored goals and Miller finished with 38 saves for the sliding Sabres (22-11-4). They are 2-2-2 since an 8-2-0 spurt.

The Sabres were without centre Derek Roy for the final 15 minutes of regulation as well as the entire overtime after he sustained an upper-body injury on a check by Senators centre Jesse Winchester while attempting a shot from the left circle. He'll be evaluated on Sunday in Buffalo and won't be with the team for Sunday night's game in St. Louis.

After a scoreless first period, the Senators struck first when Shannon recorded his first of the year at 5:15 of the second period. Kovalev's pass from the right circle went off Shannon's stick and Buffalo defenceman Steve Montador's body before going in.

Less than a minute later Neil picked up his fifth of the season when he jammed home a rebound from in tight to make it 2-0.

Vanek cut the Ottawa lead in half with his 11th of the season with 2:45 left in the second when his slap shot from the right faceoff dot went in, and Pominville tied it with 41.9 seconds left while the Sabres enjoyed a 4-on-3 power play.

NOTES: Ottawa recalled Ryan Keller from Binghamton of the AHL to replace Alfredsson ... Vanek returned after missing the past three games because of soreness in his midsection ... The Senators held the Sabres to one shot on goal in the first period of a 4-2 win on March 17, 2009 ... Montador registered Buffalo's only shot in the first with 2:36 to go ... The Senators begin a run of five straight home games on Monday, when the Montreal Canadiens visit Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).

scoring summary
1st Period
2nd Period
Ryan Shannon (1) ASST: Alex Kovalev (14), Mike Fisher (15)
1 - 0 OTT
Chris Neil (5) ASST: Anton Volchenkov (5), Chris Phillips (8)
2 - 0 OTT
Thomas Vanek (11) ASST: Michael Grier (5), Steve Montador (9)
2 - 1 OTT
PPG - Jason Pominville (9) ASST: Tim Connolly (18), Derek Roy (21)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
OT Period
1A. KovalevT. Vanek
2M. FisherT. Connolly
penalty summary
1st Period
Adam Mair  Hi-sticking against  Alex Kovalev
2nd Period
Chris Neil  Tripping against  Adam Mair
Chris Neil  Roughing against  Adam Mair
Adam Mair  Roughing against  Chris Neil
Chris Campoli  Tripping against  Tim Connolly
3rd Period
Jonathan Cheechoo  Hi-sticking against  Clarke MacArthur
Toni Lydman  Holding against  Ryan Keller
Tim Kennedy  Holding against  Alex Kovalev
OT Period
goalie stats
Pascal Leclaire
Pascal Leclaire
SA: 22TOI: 65:00
Saves: 20EV: 19 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .909SH: 0 - 0
Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller
SA: 40TOI: 65:00
Saves: 38EV: 28 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 9
SV%: .950SH: 1 - 1