Senators stifle Sabres at Scotiabank Place

The Ottawa Senators could care less who did the scoring.

Senators stifle Sabres at Scotiabank Place
Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators scores a short-handed goal against Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres on February 12, 2013 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators could care less who did the scoring.

They needed goals from anyone — at any time — to put an end to their two-game losing streak and deep scoring drought.

Tuesday night, it just happened to be a couple of guys named Erik — dynamic defenceman Erik Karlsson and versatile winger Erik Condra — who turned the tide in a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

The goals from Karlsson and Condra, 1:54 apart late in the second period, put an end to a scoreless deadlock.

That was more than enough offence for Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. Anderson continued his stellar early-season play, stopping 42 shots for his second shutout of the season.

The victory allowed the Senators to put valuable Buffalo bookends on their four-game homestand in front of 18,429 fans at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators opened the lengthy home stay with a 4-3 over the Sabres a week ago Tuesday, but dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and lost 1-0 to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. After completing the four games with a 2-1-1 record, they left immediately for Pittsburgh and a game against the Penguins Wednesday.

Tuesday’s victory was an impressive team effort.

Following an off game against Winnipeg, Karlsson was back to delivering his share of magic and Anderson was also on top of his game. Yet there was much more to it than that.

In addition to scoring his goal, Condra was part of the crew which played a significant role in shutting down the Sabres’ high scoring forward line of Thomas Vanek, Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville — in both even strength and power play situations. The Sabres’ big trio didn’t have a shot on goal in the first period, primarily matched up against the line of Condra, Zack Smith and Chris Neil.

Early on, it was a goaltender’s duel between Anderson and counterpart Ryan Miller.

The Sabres carried the play in the first period, outshooting the Senators 13-7, but the Senators gradually took the momentum away in the second.

Karlsson finally broke the deadlock, scoring short-handed 4:40 left in the second period when the Sabres forwards — Vanek, Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis — got caught up ice on the power play. Milan Michalek carried the puck into the Sabres zone and fed Karlsson, who blasted a slapshot over Miller’s trapper.

Go figure. The goal came after the Senators had come up empty on five power play chances in the period. During those advantages, Mika Zibanejad and Sergei Gonchar fired shots off the post and Daniel Alfredsson rifled a shot wide when facing a wide open net.

The Senators, who had finally broken their long goal drought on Karlsson’s goal, had renewed energy.

Only 1:54 after Karlsson’s goal, Condra jumped on a loose puck in the slot and chipped it over Miller, who was forced to battle through the traffic created by Kyle Turris and Jakob Silfverberg in front of him.

GAME FILE

CHEERS

Craig Anderson, Senators

It was another big game for the Ottawa goalie in a long line of them this season. Anderson finished the night with 42 saves and was at his best in the opening period, when the Sabres outshot the Senators 13-7.

JEERS

Thomas Vanek, Sabres

For the second time in a week in Ottawa, the NHL’s leading scorer came up empty — no goals, no assists. Even worse, he was caught up ice when Erik Karlsson broke the scoreless deadlock with a short-handed goal.

WHY THEY WON

Excellent team game, from the goaltending on out. Senators coach Paul MacLean mixed and matched his forward lines throughout, trying to find favourable matchups, and it paid off with a much needed victory.

THAT’S TWO FULL HOCKEY GAMES

Erik Karlsson’s game opening goal, with 4:40 left in the second period, broke a scoreless drought that had lasted a full 120:54, dating all the way back to the second period of last Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

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