Sabres captain Stu Barnes broke a 2-2 deadlock to score the winning goal with 57.1 seconds remaining in regulation time in Buffalo's 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday night at HSBC Arena.
Barnes' goal was the result of some impressive work in front of the net by his linemates. Vaclav Varada out-battled Ottawa defenseman Ricard Persson in front of the net and got the puck to Curtis Brown after a Richard Smehlik wrist shot from the point. Brown chipped the puck across the goal crease to Barnes, who was all alone to the right of the net, and slapped the puck as it came down the ice past Senators goalie Patrick Lalime.
"I don't know how Brownie did it, but somehow he saw me off that side and somehow I ended up by myself," Barnes said. "It was pretty much an easy tap in."
"We didn't get the puck out, they put the puck at the net, and when they put the puck at the net, things happen," said Ottawa Head Coach Jacques Martin. "We have to win those pucks."
The Sabres were down 2-1 after the second period, but Tim Connolly evened the score when he roofed a wrist shot over Lalime's glove hand just 27 seconds into the third. Connolly and Miroslav Satan had a two-on-one after Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden unsuccessfully pinched back in the Buffalo zone.
It was Connolly's first goal as a Sabre. He came to Buffalo from the New York Islanders in the off-season Michael Peca trade.
The Senators, who were playing their third game in four nights, scored both their goals on the power play. Ottawa went two-for-six with the man advantage on the plays, while Buffalo continued to struggle and failed to score on all eight chances.
"There were a lot of missed opportunities," Sabres Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. "I think if you break it down we had seven decent power plays."
The Sabres are now one for 16 on the power play this season.
Marion Hossa gave the Sens a 2-1 lead in the second period when he rifled home a shot along the ice from the right circle. Ottawa worked the puck around the perimeter on the power play until Curtis Leschyshyn found the wide-open Hossa on a pass across the slot. It appeared on the replay that Radek Bonk directed the puck into the net, but the goal was never officially changed.
Earlier in the second, Sens forward Todd White scored his second goal of the season after receiving a between-the-legs pass at the back door from Martin Havlat.
Buffalo's Maxim Afinogenov scored the game's first goal at 10:56 of the first period. Afinogenov's low wrist shot across his body caromed off the leg of Ottawa defenseman Zdeno Chara and off the left goalpost past Lalime.
Sabres goalie Martin Biron was solid between the pipes for Buffalo making 30 saves. Lalime, who had given up 10 goals in his first two games, countered with 27 saves for Ottawa.
News / Notes
The three stars of the game were Barnes, Connolly, and Lalime.
Ruff juggled his lines a lot on the game, but in the third period the Sabres lines were Barnes centering Satan and Denis Hamel, Chris Gratton centering Slava Koslov and Afinogenov, and Brown centering Varada and Erik Rasmussen.
Ruff tried multiple power play line combinations to no avail. He also played Satan at the point for the second straight game.
The Sabres signed General Manager Darcy Regier to a six-year contract Saturday.
Buffalo won when trailing heading in to the third period only twice all last year.