Sabres look to avenge Thursday loss to Senators

The Buffalo Sabres get another chance at the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.

This time they will be at home, where they will try to carry over what they did in the third period of their 4-2 loss Thursday night in Ottawa into the rematch.

The Sabres took 23 shots on goal in the final period, scoring on two of them, before Ottawa scored an empty-net goal to clinch the win.

“We knew they were going to come out and push hard in the third,” said Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 46 saves. “They get one early and then get one on the power play, and before you know it, we’re not panicking, but we’re definitely on our heels a bit.

“Give them some credit, they came out flying and we need to be a little more prepared for that. But we did the job. We got the win and at the end of the night, that’s what matters right now.”

The Sabres (6-5-2) have lost three in a row.

“That third period I mean, man, we were going,” said Sabres right winger Jason Pominville, who scored a goal in the 1,000th game of his NHL career. “We were on our toes, had zone time, had scoring chances and probably could have tied the game. That should be our standard as a team.”

The Senators (5-5-2) ended a four-game losing streak with the victory.

“I thought our first two periods were terrific — solid,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “We wanted to get our work ethic back the way it normally is, and our speed, and that’s exactly what we did.

“We know it’s tough for us to sustain what we did for two periods for three periods. There’s a confidence issue there, an experience issue there, but I think, in the end, the guys pushed hard and (Anderson) was outstanding at the right moments.”

The Senators took nine of the first 10 shots on goal in the game.

“We’re not moving our feet to check,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “We’re reaching and let’s face it, we had to be a little bit more on toes. … Guys are getting on the inside of us and we didn’t lean on people in the D zone either. We weren’t aggressive enough to kill their cycle play. Now we’re chasing it and eventually we take penalties.”

Sabres left winger Evan Rodrigues, who on a line with Zemgus Girgensons and Pominville for the first seven games of the season, could be ready to return to the lineup Saturday.

Rodrigues missed the game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets last Saturday to be with his wife while she gave birth to their first son. He also has been a healthy scratch in the two games since. He was on a line with Vladimir Sobotka and Kyle Okposo at practice on Friday. He has four assists and no goals in 10 games.

Sabres right winger Tage Thompson will not play Saturday after being a healthy scratch Thursday. Housley said the team will keep the 20-year-old with Buffalo instead of sending him to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League and the intention is to play him in a game soon. He has one assist in nine games.

The Senators were joined at practice Friday by injured left winger Brady Tkachuk. It was his first practice with the team since he suffered a torn ligament in his left leg on Oct. 15. He will not be available until Thursday at the earliest when the Senators play the Vegas Golden Knights if he continues to progress. Tkachuk has three goals and three assists in four games.