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Sharper Sabres Lose Sixth

Saturday, 12.16.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Sharper Sabres Lose Sixth
For three consecutive games, the Buffalo Sabres had played less than their best hockey of the season and walked away the victors. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened when Buffalo squared off with the Ottawa Senators for the fourth time this season.

Buffalo put together one of their most complete performances during the month of December but ended the night with a 3-1 loss to the Senators despite their best efforts. Jason Spezza scored a pair of power play goals and added an assist on Dany Heatley's marker in the first period to lead the way for a Senators team that has handed Buffalo three of the team's six losses this season.

Buffalo is still searching for its second win against a team they eliminated from the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs in five games.

"My fear [before the game] was that they would beat us in special teams," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "And they beat us on special teams again tonight."

The talented Senators power play is almost twice as effective when they are playing the Eastern Conferences top team. When facing the Sabres, Ottawa has scored six goals in 27 opportunities for a 22.2% conversion rate, compared to a 15.5% rate of success against the rest of the league.

Buffalo rallied to within a goal with Jochen Hecht's eighth goal of the season with six minutes remaining in the second period but failed to close the gap.

Missed opportunities haunted the Sabres locker room following the game.

"They basically have the same team as last year in the playoffs," said Derek Roy, who centers one of Buffalo's two power-play units that went a combined one-for-six on the night. "We worked hard and the effort was there, the puck just wouldn't hit the back of the net tonight."

"We shot a lot of pucks and put a lot of rubber on net, but we couldn't find a way to score," said Jason Pominville. "You have to give [Senators goaltender Ray Emery] credit and we just have to be even sharper the next time."

Emery, the losing netminder during the aforementioned playoff series, was rock-solid in net for the Senators, stopping 35-of-36 shots. Ryan Miller countered with 26 saves and allowed just one even-strength goal.

A turnover by Thomas Vanek in Buffalo's zone led to Ottawa's first goal.

Spezza intercepted Vanek's clearing attempt at the blueline and swung the puck to Andrej Meszaros for the point shot, which crept through Miller's pads before being assisted over the goal line by Heatley at 5:42 of the first.

Camped in front of the net on a Senators power play, Spezza scored 18th goal of the season and fourth in as many games against Buffalo after one-timing Tom Preissing's pass from behind the net at 17:29 of the first.

Hecht cut the Senators lead to a single goal with his eighth goal of the season with six minutes remaining in the second. With a Buffalo man-advantage, Hecht redirected Brian Campbell's point shot over Emery's left pad for his first power-play goal of the season at 14:11 to make the score 2-1.

Spezza scored his second power-play goal of the night after firing into a wide-open net on a five-on-three advantage to regain the two-goal Ottawa lead at 2:31 of the third.
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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82