The Buffalo Sabres had their chance to win three straight home games for the first time in over a year. But, Kyle Turris and his two goals had other ideas as the Ottawa Senators score late in overtime to give the Senators a 4-3 win.
Ville Leino Makes His Return
Ville Leino returned to the lineup after missing the first 27 games with a lower body injury and made an immediate impact in the first period. Playing on a line with Tyler Ennis and Steve Ott, Leino received an assist on the Sabres first goal from Mike Weber. Overall, Leino finished the game with 18 shifts accounting for 15:55 in ice time, one assist, and two shots on goal.
After the game, Leino said that felt good in the first game back. "I got a little tired at the end but I still felt good. It's a clean slate, new coach, new year, so I'm feeling pretty comfortable. I mean if you feel comfortable and good, it looks like you are skating better.'
Tale Of Two Periods
The Sabres had the last three days off and they looked like the far better team out of the gate. The team was able to keep pressure in the offensive zone and gave Miller a lot of early clean looks. They managed two goals on ten shots in the first period.
It was the first time that the Sabres have had a two goal lead heading into the second period since a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on March 27, 2012. All of hat momentum was soundly halted in the second period as the Senators scored three times to get a 3-2 lead. The first goal for the Senators came just 4:03 into the period. Ottawa was able to sustain offensive pressure through most of the period as they had a 9-2 shot advantage early and finished the period outshooting Buffalo 15-9. The second period has been a killer for the Sabres all season as they now have a -17 goal differential in the period.
Jason Pominville had this to say about the second periods. "We made some good strides, it was an area that we obviously weren't good enough. Tonight, our second just wasn't were it needed to be especially with a two goal lead. But I think, we stuck with it, battled back, and were able to get one point but it's unfortunate to not get that second one obviously."
Drew Stafford had pretty much the same sentiments about the team's performance in the second period. "It was on us there in the second period, taking our foot off the gas and giving them some life. They got some bounces with the one going off Leo. It's just the way that it has been going and it's unfortunate because we can control a lot of that. We can control how we play as far as keeping the pressure on them. It's one positive that we were able to get the one point at least, battled back for that. But at the same time, it felt as though if we had a solid second we could be talking about getting two points tonight."
Speaking of Drew Stafford, he had one of the best nights of the season. In 27 games this season, Drew Stafford has scored exactly two goals. One of those goals came after suffering through the longest goal scoring drought of his career. But, against the Senators, Stafford doubled his scoring output and was able to get the game tying goal. It's Stafford's first two goal game since that same March 27th game mentioned earlier.