BUFFALO — Daniel Alfredsson
scored twice in the final minute — including an empty-netter — to
extend the Ottawa Senators’ franchise-best winning streak to 10 with a
4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.
Jason Spezza also scored two goals
and added an assist, and Brian Elliott stopped 36 shots to win his
eighth straight game — matching the franchise mark he set as a rookie
last season. Ryan Shannon had two assists in helping the surging
Senators close to within three points of the first-place Sabres in the
Andrej Sekera and Tim Connolly scored
27 seconds apart to tie it in the third period for the Sabres, who lost
their eighth in a row to Ottawa, dating to a 4-2 home win on Jan. 6,
The Senators bounced back after
squandering a 2-0 lead. Defenseman Erik Karlsson set up Alfredsson for
the decisive goal with a minute remaining. Karlsson wound up at the
right point as if he was going to shoot, but instead fed a perfect pass
through the slot to Alfredsson, alone at the left post.
The Senators captain sealed the
victory by bouncing a shot into an open net with less than 23 seconds
left. Ottawa won its sixth straight road game to match a team mark set
in closing the 2002-03 season.
Spezza has scored in seven consecutive games, including five since returning from a right knee injury.
After opening the scoring 13:38 into
the second period, Spezza gave the Senators a 2-0 lead 6 minutes into
the third. He beat goalie Ryan Miller with a bad-angle shot from the
lower right circle.
The Sabres responded by scoring twice on consecutive shots.
Sekera drove in from the right point
and snapped a shot that sneaked under the crossbar. The goal came off a
faceoff to the right of the Senators net after Elliott made a brilliant
glove save to foil Thomas Vanek from the slot.
Connolly tied it at 7:44 when his 40-footer beat Elliott high on the glove side.
Elliott stopped 13 shots in the
first period. He made a great glove save to rob Jochen Hecht‘s
backhander from the right circle 10 minutes in. Seven minutes later, he
was in a perfect position to get his body in front of a shot from
Clarke MacArthur, who got to a loose puck in the slot.
Elliott also got a big assist from
teammate Chris Phillips during a scramble in front in the first.
Hecht’s shot deflected over Elliott, and the puck rolled down the
goalie’s back toward the open net. Phillips used his stick to bat the
puck out of the air just before it crossed the line.
The television feed didn’t show an
overhead angle replay because the high-definition camera above the
Senators net was not working. Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert said
officials did review an overhead view of the play recorded by an analog
Senators C Jesse Winchester
returned after missing 11 games with a knee injury. … Sabres RW
Patrick Kaleta didn’t play after bruising his foot in a 5-4 loss at
Pittsburgh on Monday. … Off since a 3-2 overtime win against Montreal
on Saturday, the Senators’ three-day break was their longest during a
stretch of 22 games in 46 days that began Jan. 1. … The NHL
recognizes only that Spezza has scored in five straight games following
his 20-game absence caused by a torn knee ligament. Seven consecutive
games would surpass the Senators’ record set by Dany Heatley.