The fourth time they tested fate was unlucky.
Three times the Ottawa Senators have gone to a shootout this season, and three times they’ve won.
On Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, they weren’t so lucky.
Derek Roy, who also scored in regulation, scored at the end of six shootout rounds to give the Sabres a 3-2 win.
The loss extended Ottawa’s losing streak to three games. All three losses have been to Northeast Division rivals.
Milan Michalek and Erik Condra scored for the Senators in regulation, while Jordan Leopold scored Buffalo’s other goal.
Michalek and Jason Spezza were the only two Senators to score in the shootout. Erik Karlsson, Nick Foligno, Kaspars Daugavins, and Bobby Butler missed.
In regulation, Craig Anderson faced 32 shots while Jhonas Enroth faced 26.
“We couldn’t find a way to get that third goal in regulation,” said Anderson.
“And when you get to a shootout, it’s a crapshoot. You win some, you lose some. Sometimes you need a little luck to win one of those.”
That’s about the way Ottawa coach Paul MacLean felt. He couldn’t really say anything bad about his team, other than it might have played a bit too defensively in the second half of the third period.
“We scored the first two in the shootout,” he said.
“Unfortunately, they did, too.
“When it gets to a shootout, it’s anybody’s game. It’s a skill contest and we lost that one (Saturday night).”
Without taking anything away from the Sabres, Jason Spezza said it was an opportunity lost.
“That would have been a nice one to pull out,” he said.
“It was a pretty good hockey team, two pretty even teams., and it comes down to a shootout.
“If you win the shootout you’re happy, if you lose it, you’re upset about it. It’s tough.”
The Senators now have one game left at home, Wednesday against the Rangers, before heading out on the road for six games, including a three-game trip to Western Canada.
The first period was the usual Ottawa-Buffalo to-and-fro until the 14-minute mark when, within 38 seconds, Filip Kuba got called for closing his hand on the puck and Derek Roy got called for tripping.
That opened up the ice and Michalek took advantage. Chris Phillips sprung him with a pass, he spun around Tyler Myers and beat Enroth with a backhander to the top shelf.
In contrast to the dull first period, the second was an exciting one of chances and goals on both sides.
Just a minute or so after Jesse Winchester hit the post on a breakaway, Roy pulled the Sabres even when he deflected a shot from just above the left circle by Ville Leino. No fault there. Deflections happen.
But about two minutes later, at 12:55, the Sabres took a 2-1 lead through a series of defensive breakdowns in the Ottawa zone. Jordon Leopold knocked in a rebound from in front of Anderson.
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MORE DENTAL WORK: Erik Karlsson will be using his day off to visit team dentist Bill Henry after a puck bounced up off the stick of Derek Roy and hit him in the mouth. Karlsson didn’t miss a shift, though.
STUD: Zack Smith. Was on the puck all night and his pass to Condra for the 2-2 tying goal was an example of patience. He waited until Condra got into the clear and then put it on the tape.
DUD: Stephane Da Costa. Players lose battles. That’s a given. But Da Costa has to be tougher on the puck, especially in the Ottawa zone. He looked bad when Nathan Gerbe bumped him off the puck in the corner to left of the Ottawa net, ultimately leading to Leopold’s second-period goal.
MAKING A POINT: The assist that Craig Anderson picked up on Milan Michalek’s first-period goal was the eighth point of his NHL career and his first as a Senator. Anderson had one assist last season as a member of the Avalanche. His most productive season was 2009-10, when, as a member of the Avalanche, he was the Wayne Gretzky of goalies with three assists.