Same old, same old. They couldn’t get a save when they needed one and they couldn’t make up for it with their pop-gun offence. The Senators actually had a nice start to this one, outplaying, outchancing and outscoring the Sabres. Alas, their early 1-0 lead didn’t last long. Two Buffalo goals in a six-minute, first period span put them on their heels and an overtime breakdown pushed them over. Game One of the Senators’ rebuild goes down as a loss.
Paul Byron, Sabres
It was a big night for the former Gatineau Olympiques star. One game after picking up his first career NHL assist against the New York Islanders, he notched his first goal in a somewhat familiar rink. He used his impressive speed to get behind the Senators’ defence and tap in a nice two-on-one setup.
Brian Elliott, Senators
As long as coach Cory Clouston keeps trotting him out there every game, the Senators will struggle to pick up wins. The pillow-soft goal Elliott allowed to put the Sabres up 2-1 completely deflated his colleagues for about 15 minutes of playing time. That, plus a big rebound in overtime, resulted in his 11th straight loss.
Ryan Miller. Much has been made of the Buffalo goalie’s struggles against the Senators over the years (12-15-2 lifetime record), but his performance over the past few months has been nothing short of stellar. Miller, who stopped 27 shots to up his record against Ottawa to 3-1 this season, entered the game with a .955 save percentage against the capital crew this campaign.
- 1-4: Senators’ power play.
- 15: Buffalo shots in the first period.
- 2: Buffalo shots in the third period.
- 6: Consecutive losses for the Senators.
- 1: Ottawa win in the last 13 games.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Given all the turmoil floating around this team over the past month, it was a little surprising the Senators were able to string together eight consecutive sellouts at Scotiabank Place. That streak came to an end Tuesday night, as the announced crowd came in at 18,990. It wasn’t exactly an energetic group for most of the night, either. After the Sabres stormed back from an early deficit, a sense of inevitability about another loss seemed to settle in.
Pascal Leclaire hasn’t played much this season, but the world’s unluckiest netminder has contributed a handful of important lessons. No. 1: Don’t assume you’re safe just because you’re sitting on the bench. Alex Kovalev had to the leave the game in the second period when an Andrej Sekera clearing attempt flew into the Ottawa bench and hit him just under the eye. Unlike Leclaire, who missed time with a broken cheekbone after his own puck-in-face incident, Kovalev returned for the third period.