Senators extend franchise-best streak
Make that a perfect 10 for the Ottawa Senators.
Daniel Alfredsson scored twice in the final minute – including
an empty-netter – and the Senators extended a franchise-best
winning streak to 10 with a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on
In a night of milestones, Brian Elliott stopped 36 shots to win
his eighth in a row to match the team record he set last year. The
Senators also tied another team mark by winning their sixth
consecutive road game.
Jason Spezza had two goals to give him a seven-game scoring
streak, including five since returning from a right knee
The Senators (32-21-4) are within three points of the
first-place Sabres (32-16-7) in the Northeast Division.
“It is impressive,” said Alfredsson, the Senators captain and
longest-tenured player. “I don’t think we expected this from
The Sabres didn’t see this loss coming, especially after they
appeared to grab momentum 8 minutes into the third period, when
Andrej Sekera and Tim Connolly tied the game at 2 by scoring 27
“We battled hard in the third to get back in it,” Sabres coach
Lindy Ruff said. “The best description is we just found another
way to lose a game.”
Losing to Ottawa has certainly become customary. In beating the
Sabres for the eighth straight time, the Senators improved to
24-6-4 against Buffalo since the NHL lockout.
Alfredsson secured the win by scoring the final goal with a
Seeing his teammates work the puck to defenseman Erik Karlsson
at the right point, Alfredsson sneaked in behind the Sabres
defenders to park himself at the left post. Karlsson wound up as if
he was going to shoot and then fed a perfect pass through the slot
Alfredsson had enough time to stop the puck with his skate, kick
it up on his stick and stuff it into the open side.
“One minute left – we can’t let that guy stand all alone on the
backdoor,” Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder said. “It
Ottawa hasn’t lost since a 6-1 defeat at Atlanta on Jan. 12.
Despite giving up goals on consecutive shots, Elliott earned
plenty of credit for keeping the Senators in the game, especially
in the first period when Ottawa was outshot 13-5.
He made a 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.
“Els has been phenomenal,” Spezza said. “He was probably the
reason why we won. He kept us in that game.”
Elliott has allowed only 10 goals during his winning streak, and
he credited his teammates for remaining composed after the Sabres
tied the game.
“It’s huge,” Elliott said. “We’re not quitting in the last
Elliott also got a big assist from teammate Chris Phillips
during a scramble in front in the first period. 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 wasn’t working.
Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert said officials reviewed an
overhead view of the play recorded by an analog camera.
NOTES: 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. …
The Sabres lost a home game in regulation for the first time in 13
games (9-1-3). … 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.