Senators blank road-weary Sabres

Buffalo drops fourth straight to league’s worst team

Just 22 hours after a tough loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, the Buffalo Sabres travelled to Canada’s capital to take on the NHL’s worst team, the Ottawa Senators.

When the final horn sounded, the Senators had taken a chunk out of Buffalo’s 13 point lead in the standings.

As woeful as the team has been, the Sabres carried play for much of the first period. Prior to taking two consecutive penalties, Buffalo had the better of the chances and led in shots 11-6.

Not long after the second penalty expired, though, the Buffalo defense lost track of Anthony Duclair, who beat an out-of-position Carter Hutton.

Things did not get better before the horn ended the first period. With 11 seconds remaining, Brian Gibbons scored his seventh of the season on a pass from defender Christian Jaros. Ottawa took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

Despite the deficit, the Sabres managed only nine shots on goal in the second period. The mark was two better than the opponent, but it remained insufficient as the team was unable to break through the vaunted Senators defense and beat goaltender Craig Anderson. Both teams had an opportunity on the power play in the middle frame, with neither succeeding with the advantage. Buffalo’s chance came at 15:46 when forward Evan Rodrigues was the victim of a terrible hit from behind delivered by Mark Borowiecki. Rodrigues played limited minutes after the hit.

Failing to cut into the Senators’ lead, the Sabres were able to keep Ottawa off of the scoreboard in the second. The same was not true in the third.

Five minutes into the final period, Alex Nylander headed to the penalty box to sit for a high-sticking call. It took the Ottawa power play 35 seconds to convert, when Rudolfs Bacers parked uncontested in front of Hutton, receiving a pass from Bobby Ryan, and easily slipping the puck home.

Exactly 90 seconds later, the Senators extended the lead to 4-0. Breaking into the zone, Gibbons carried to Hutton’s left, pursued by Brandon Montour. He slid the puck across to Christian Wolanin, drawing Hutton to his right and out of the crease. The pass to Magnus Paajarvi found its way into the gaping maw of the Buffalo net, ending the scoring for the evening.

Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart led the team in shots with four each. Will Borgen, playing in his first NHL game, was not on the ice for any goals against and was perhaps a highlight in his 14:54 for the game.

The Sabres were shutout for the fourth time in nine games. They have been outscored 32-13 in that time. They will face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday evening, closing out the ‘worst in the league’ trifecta. A loss to the Red Wings would mean that the club could not manage a win against three of the NHL’s four lowest teams - a damning statement on what has become a hellscape of a season.

Score: Senators 4 | Sabres 0

Shots: Sabres - 35 | Senators - 31

Three Stars

  1. Craig Anderson (35 saves on 35 shots)
  2. Brian Gibbons (1 goal, 1 assist)
  3. Anthony Duclair (1 goal)