THE AFTERMATH: SABRES 6, SENATORS 4
The game was played hours after former Sabres great Rick Martin died in a one-car accident. A moment of silence was observed in honor of Martin, a member of the Sabres' famed French Connection line.
Thomas Vanek and Paul Gaustad both had a goal and an assist, and Nathan Gerbe and Brad Boyes also scored for Buffalo, which moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, tying the idle New York Rangers. Mike Weber had a career-high three assists. ...more.
Buffalo filled up the stat sheet on Sunday and scored in a variety of ways, but it took some nifty stickhandling and a “thread-the-needle” type of pass for the Sabres to score the first of their six goals on the game. With just over five minutes gone in the first period, Andrej Sekera weaved through two Ottawa defenders in the offensive zone before leaving the puck for Tim Connolly. Connolly had the puck between the top of the right circle and the blue line and made a perfect pass toward the front of the net to Tyler Ennis, who took the puck from his forehand to his backhand and calmly slid it past Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson for his 16th goal of the season.
- The Sabres honored Rick Martin, who passed away earlier in the day, with a moment of silence before the game after Rick Jeanneret informed the Sabres fans of Martin’s passing. Following the game, the players skated to center ice and saluted Martin’s No. 7 banner, which hangs in the rafters alongside those of the other members of the French Connection, Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert.
- The Sabres played their first home game since Feb. 26 on Sunday following a season-long seven-game road trip that saw them go 4-2-1. Sunday’s game was the first of a four-game homestand. With the win, they improved to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.
- Thomas Vanek scored his 25th goal of the season, giving him at least 25 goals in each of his first six NHL seasons. Vanek joins Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk, Rick Nash, Alex Ovechkin, Eric Staal and Martin St. Louis as the only players to score 25 goals in each of the last six seasons to date. He also reached the 60-point mark for the fourth time in six years.
- Andrej Sekera’s two assists gave him 13 points (2-11-13) in the last nine games.
- Brad Boyes made his home debut for the Sabres after playing each of his first seven games with the team on the road and scored Buffalo’s sixth goal of the game. He now has seven points (4-3-7) in eight games with the team.
- Paul Gaustad and Chris Butler each returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game at Toronto with upper body injuries. Gaustad scored his 10th goal of the season.
- Jochen Hecht left the game with an upper body injury and did not return.
- Ottawa pulled goaltender Craig Anderson and replaced him with Curtis McElhinney after Gaustad scored Buffalo’s fourth goal of the game in the second period.
- Jhonas Enroth recorded a career-high 34 saves while making his eighth appearance of the season for the Sabres and his first at HSBC Arena since Nov. 24
- Mike Weber collected three assists for his second three-point game of the season.
- The Sabres wore their royal blue, 40th anniversary jerseys.
- Tonight’s crowd of 18,690 gave the Sabres their fifth consecutive sellout at HSBC Arena.
- Drew Stafford (lower body), Patrick Kaleta (bone bruise in leg) and Patrick Lalime (knee) remained sidelined for Buffalo while Mark Parrish and Steve Montador were scratched.
- Forwards Milan Michalek, Daniel Alfredsson and Peter Regin, along with defenseman Matt Carkner and goalie Pascal Leclaire were out of the lineup for Ottawa.
The Sabres will host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday in a game that has playoff implications for both teams. With Sunday’s win over Ottawa, the Sabres are currently four points ahead of Carolina, who occupy ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The teams last met on Mar. 3 in Raleigh, where the Hurricanes came away with a 3-2 overtime victory. Following Tuesday’s matchup, the Sabres and ‘Canes will meet one more time when they get together on April 3 in Carolina.