Anderson saves Senators

After giving up what has been his Achilles’ heel this season – a wraparound goal – Craig Anderson settled down and led the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Anderson saves Senators
Craig Anderson #41 of the Ottawa Senators makes a save against as Matt D'Agostini #27 of the Buffalo Sabres and Zack Smith #15 look on at Canadian Tire Centre on December 12, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

After giving up what has been his Achilles’ heel this season — a wraparound goal — Craig Anderson settled down and led the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

The much-needed victory means the Senators have collected points in five of their last six games and are creeping closer to the playoff picture.

Bobby Ryan, with his team-leading 15th, and Zack Smith, with his fifth, scored for the Senators, who lost a 2-1 shootout to the Sabres on Tuesday in Buffalo.

Tyler Ennis, with his seventh, scored for the Sabres.

Anderson ended up making 40 saves, while Buffalo starter Ryan Miller made 30.

Anderson got off to a shaky start when, with 2:21 left in the first, he gave up a wraparound goal to let the Sabres out of the period with a 1-1 tie.

On a power play, Ennis came around the net and stuffed the puck inside the right post, with a helpful deflection off Anderson’s stick.

It was doubly unfortunate because it came only 38 seconds after Anderson made what might have been the game’s best save, stopping Steve Ott on such a clean breakaway it looked like a shootout attempt.

The period started with a Buffalo goal being waved off for the second game in a row, this one because John Scott had steamrolled Anderson before the puck went in.

Seven minutes later, at 9:22, Ryan completed a nice passing play with Cory Conacher and Kyle Turris for a 1-0 Ottawa lead.

With Miller looking for Turris to shoot from the right circle, Turris passed back across to Ryan, who had an open left side.

In a second period that saw the Senators outshot 13-8, Anderson was the difference.

He had shaken off the wraparound goal and made several terrific saves, the biggest of which were ones off Ennis and Luke Adam in the opening minutes.

And at 6:39, the Senators went up 2-1 thanks in part to Scott, who was more a benefit to the Senators than his own team.

Scott had just finished serving his second minor of the game when Smith collected a seeing-eye pass from Turris and beat Miller to an open right side. That meant Scott, in 2:42 of ice time through two periods, had cost the Sabres one goal and helped the Senators score another.

GAME FILE

WHY THEY WON

Because after giving up a wraparound goal in the first, Craig Anderson settled down and made 40 saves, some of them brilliant.

CHEERS

Cody Ceci

After playing on Wednesday night in Binghamton, the former Ottawa 67 had a fine NHL debut here, playing a regular shift with Chris Phillips. He even got some time killing penalties and on the power play. Great young skater.

JEERS

John Scott

The Buffalo winger cost his team a goal in the first period through goaltender interference, then was just coming out of the box in the second when the Senators made it 2-1. He was Ottawa’s 21st player.

EMPTY SEATS

Even with help from Ceci’s family and friends, who came out to watch his NHL debut, attendance was second lowest of the season at 15,578. The lowest was 15,535 for a Nov. 17 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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