Fourth Straight Loss to Ottawa
Wednesday, 01.03.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
But like a train wreck, all of Buffalo's forward progress came to a crashing halt in a 6-3 loss Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place.
"We didn't do a good enough job on special teams to win the game," said head coach Lindy Ruff, whose team has suffered half of its eight losses this season at the hands of the Senators. "
The Sabres penalty kill, which had held its opponents scoreless in 17 straight power plays, allowed Ottawa to convert on three-of-four man advantage opportunities. Since Buffalo's only victory in the season series, a 4-3 decision in the third game of the season, Ottawa's power play has been unstoppable against the top team in the Eastern Conference.
Ottawa has scored on nine-of-23 opportunities for a whooping success rate of 39.1 per cent in its four-game winning streak against Buffalo.
"We did have some frustration and that showed in our play," said Ruff. "We get frustrated losing to anybody."
With the man advantage, the Sabres special teams didn't fair much better. Buffalo's two power-play units went one-for-five and gave up a shot handed goal. While Ottawa has scored on more than a third of all power plays in the past three games, Buffalo has seen success on 8.7 per cent of their chances.
"We weren't very good with the puck," said Ruff.
The tide turned against the Sabres after the team played a possessed first period. Buffalo fired nine shots on goal to open the game before Ryan Miller was tested for the first time. They outshot the Sens 19-7 in the opening period.
But the goaltender who Buffalo hammered during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs stood strong. Ray Emery stopped 33-of-36 shots to record his 16th victory of the season. Miller took the loss with 30 saves.
Dany Heatley put forth a monster effort, scoring a hat trick and adding an assist on Tom Preissing's goal in the second period. All three of the Senators and Heatley's goals came in the second period.
Heatley scored his 21st of the season while shorthanded to give Ottawa the lead at 4:53 of the second after batting a tipped puck out of mid-air past Miller.
He scored his second seven minutes later off a Andrej Meszaros rebound and made people throw their buckets with a deflected puck off his skate that Teppo Numminen redirected past Miller at 12:20 of the second.
Paul Gaustad notched his seventh of the season with a quick shot from the right face-off dot into the top-right corner of the net at 4:55 of the third.
Peter Schaefer scored Ottawa's fifth of the game on a breakaway at 6:36 of the third, while Wade Redden registered the sixth with a point shot on the power play at 13:15.
Maxim Afinogenov gets his 19th of the season after freezing Anton Volchenkov with some nifty stickhandling and firing a quick wristshot with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
Jason Pominville scores with 52 seconds remaining in regulation to set career-highs in both points (31) and goals (19). Pominville swept Jiri Novotny's rebound into a wide-open net after Ray Emery couldn't control the shot to make the score 6-3 in favor of Ottawa.
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Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio station of the Buffalo Sabres.