June 23rd, 2024

Sabres pounce on Senators early, hang on for 6-4 win

By James Gordon, The Canadian Press on October 24, 2023.

Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (centre), celebrates a goal with teammates as they take on the Ottawa Senators in first period NHL hockey action in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – On a night meant to honour former Ottawa Senators star goaltender Craig Anderson at the Canadian Tire Centre, it was two high-powered offences that stole the show in a 6-4 Buffalo Sabres victory.

Anderson, who serves as a hockey liaison for the Buffalo Sabres, watched the visitors cruise to a 5-1 lead before almost letting it all slip away.

A furious rally by the Senators narrowed the deficit to 5-4 with 35 seconds remaining, but a Tage Thompson empty-netter for his second goal of the night locked down a wild NHL win.

Jeff Skinner also scored twice for the Sabres, with Zemgus Girgensons and Alex Tuch adding singles. Jakob Chychrun, Vladimir Tarasenko, Josh Norris and Mathieu Joseph scored for Ottawa.

Senators starter Anton Forsberg was chased from the net after allowing five goals on 18 shots through two periods. Joonas Korpisalo made six saves in the third. Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukonen got the win for Buffalo.

Amazingly, things could have actually been a lot worse for the Senators.

Senators captain Brady Tkachuk left the game late in the second period after what looked like a light, routine collision with Sabres centre Peyton Krebs.

Tkachuk was immediately distressed, however, appearing to favour his shoulder as he threw off his glove and sprinted off the ice and down the hall to the Senators’ locker room.

The Canadian Tire Centre crowd let out a sigh of relief when Tkachuk returned for the third period, but it made little difference in a game in which the listless Senators were already trailing 5-1.

The Senators’ loss came on a night dedicated to their former star netminder and owner of the franchise record with 202 wins.

Craig Anderson signed a one-day contract earlier in the day to end his career on the team he spent 10 years with.

The Senators had some jump in the opening minutes, but the energy on the ice and in the building waned quickly as the Sabres scored two goals to take over early.

Skinner opened the scoring at 8:06 of the first period, snapping a shot past Forsberg after a nice feed across by Tuch on a 2-on-1.

The Sabres would add to their lead just a few minutes later when Girgensons tipped a Connor Clifton point shot into the far corner of the Ottawa net.

The Senators had an opportunity to get back in game with a 5-on-3 power play early in the third, but the Sabres escaped unscathed.

Skinner put the Sabres up 3-0 shortly thereafter, bouncing a puck off Forsberg and in from behind the net.

Forsberg, who entered the game 2-0 with an impressive .933 save percentage, looked increasingly frustrated as the game went on, shaking his head after several near misses.

The Senators grabbed a bit of momentum midway through the second on Chychrun’s third goal of the season, but it was short-lived.

Two quick ones against and the suspected loss of their captain in the final three minutes of the second let more air out of the building.

The Senators would finally show some life, but it wound up being too little, too late.


Tkachuk’s shoulder looked just fine when he levelled Tuch with a knockout punch in a fight late in the third period “¦ Anderson’s presence made for a rare (yet apt) sight: he dropped the puck for a ceremonial faceoff that featured the two starting goalies instead of the team captains. “¦ Artem Zub missed his second consecutive game after taking a puck in the ear last week.


Senators: Visit the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Sabres: Visit the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2023.

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