Senators Power Play Earns Them Rare Road Win

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Tuesday night in Buffalo. The Sens are now 18-23-9 and sit 7th place in the Atlantic division while the Sabres fell to 22-21-7 and 5th place in the division. 

Craig Anderson was stellar with 28 saves through 60 minutes, but the story of this game was the Ottawa power play, which went an astounding 3/4. Coming into the game with the 31st ranked on the man advantage, the Senators capitalized on the now 28th ranked Sabres penalty kill.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened the scoring on the power play by setting a new career high with his 20th of the season on a pass from Thomas Chabot that we’ll say was on purpose (if it really was on purpose, Chabot is a wizard).

The Sabres tied things up on an unfortunate giveaway by Ron Hainsey on the penalty kill, and Sam Reinhart capitalized for an unassisted goal.

The Ottawa Senators took the lead again when Drake Batherson fired a beautiful cross-ice pass to Tyler Ennis on the man-advantage, who made no mistake. A highlight reel pass from Batherson, who looks very comfortable controlling a power play from the right flank.

Buffalo tied things up again shortly after when Jack Eichel set his own career high with his 29th of the season. Eichel is having a phenomenal year and it would be a shame if the Sabres miss the playoffs, which they are on track to do for the 9th straight season.

Mike Reilly gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead halfway through the 3rd period, once again on the power play for his first as a Senator. An underrated part of this goal, which was pointed out on the broadcast by Ray Ferraro, was Brady Tkachuk’s screen in front of the net. Stuff like that doesn’t show up on the scoresheet but is  extremely valuable to a team. I’ve always said that once the Sens finally get a solid power play, Tkachuk will be a huge part of it by parking himself right in the goalie’s grill.

Shortly after Reilly’s go-ahead goal, Kyle Okposo skated by Mark Borowiecki and clipped his knee which sent Boro to the dressing room with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

But Boro never misses a shift. He’s a warrior. He came back on the ice when the Sabres pulled their goalie and had the shift of the game.

Nikita Zaitsev added another empty netter for his first as a Senator to make the final score 5-2 Senators.

The Ottawa Senators earned their 18th win of the season but just their 6th road win, pushing their record away from the Canadian Tire Centre to 6-15-4.

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This was the Sabres first game back after the All-star break, but still felt like a back-breaking loss for them. As I stated above, they are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the 9th straight season. Their next game is Thursday night when they host the Montreal Canadiens.

Ottawa gets a few days off before hosting the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

 

Side Notes:

  • Batherson looks great. I think he’s here to stay until the AHL playoffs.
  • Duclair can’t buy a goal, and you can tell he’s frustrated. 12 goal-less games, so it’s something to monitor.
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