Sabres subpar, but still top Senators

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 11, 2012
The Buffalo Sabres were hardly perfect, but they were perfectly happy to skate off with two points against the Ottawa Senators. Tyler Ennis scored in regulation and then added the winning goal in the shootout to give the Sabres a 4-3 victory over the Senators on Saturday night. Nathan Gerbe and Marcus Foligno also scored for the Sabres (32-29-8), and Ryan Miller stopped 33 shots. ''It was good to see us get pucks to the net, and we got a couple of nice bounces and that comes from just putting the puck in good areas,'' Miller said. ''They all count and they were a little bit dirtier. We needed it.'' The Sabres (32-29-8) moved into a tie for ninth place in the Eastern Conference with the Winnipeg Jets. The teams have identical records after 69 games, and are two points back of eighth-place Washington. Erik Karlsson scored twice, and Erik Condra had a goal for the Senators (36-26-8), who got 38 saves from Ben Bishop. ''Overall, I think we played a good game,'' Karlsson said. ''Miller played a really good game and probably saved them a couple of times. I think we could have come away with two points.'' The Sabres trailed throughout the game and made three comebacks before finally winning in the shootout. Miller stopped Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza in the shootout. Daniel Alfredsson was the lone shootout scorer for Ottawa. Jason Pominville and Ennis scored for Buffalo. The Senators were short-handed for the final 67 seconds of overtime after Karlsson took a tripping penalty. Bishop made two great saves to force the game to a shootout. Karlsson gave the Senators a 3-2 lead at 7:14 of the third period. He took advantage of a turnover just inside the blue line and fired a wrist shot past Miller. Marcus Foligno tied it with his first NHL goal as his backhander deflected off Alfredsson's foot and past Bishop. Foligno said he would've liked to celebrate more, including the Foligno leap first done by his father, Mike. He wasn't sure who would get credit for the goal, so he restrained himself. ''It was just one of those questionable goals,'' Marcus said. ''I'm just really happy to get it in my second NHL game and contribute the tying goal. There were a lot of emotions that's for sure.'' Older brother Nick, a forward with the Senators, also had mixed emotions. ''I didn't really know how to react,'' he said. ''I was happy and (upset) at the same time. Now that the game is over I can say I'm really thrilled for him.'' Just before his goal, Marcus got tangled with Ottawa's Sergei Gonchar. Senators coach Paul MacLean was disappointed that no call was made. ''I thought it was a slew foot that led to him getting an opportunity to the puck,'' MacLean said. ''All in all it was a good game and very entertaining and we just have to move on.'' The Senators sent 21 shots at Miller in the second period, but after 40 minutes the game was tied 2-2. ''Miller made some great stops to keep them in the game, and they got the better of us in the shootout,'' Alfredsson said. ''I thought we played pretty good.'' The Sabres got even at 1 when Gerbe scored past a screened Bishop. Ottawa regained the lead midway through the period on Karlsson's 17th goal. Miller attempted to stop Karlsson's sharp angle shot, but the puck bounced in off his shoulder. Karlsson's performance was even more impressive, considering he had been a game-time decision. With 18.6 seconds remaining in the first period, Ennis tied the game as he grabbed a rebound and put it over a sprawled Bishop. ''I thought Miller played a pretty good game and made some big saves on the goal line,'' Bishop said. ''It's a little disappointing, but it's a big point at the end of the season.'' The Senators took a 1-0 lead on Condra's short-handed goal, his first tally in 30 games. Condra took advantage of a turnover at the Senators' blue line, broke in alone on Miller and beat him with a quick wrist shot. The teams finished the season series 3-3. NOTES : The Senators were without G Craig Anderson (finger), C Peter Regin (shoulder), C Jesse Winchester (concussion). D Matt Carkner, RW Bobby Butler and C Zenon Konopka were healthy scratches. The Sabres were without D Andrej Sekera (flu), C Jochen Hecht (concussion), LW Thomas Vanek (upper body). C Cody McCormick was a healthy scratch.
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