The Ottawa Senators finally swung a win on the road, knocking off the Buffalo Sabres by a final score of 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Ottawa entered the game with a 0-4-3 record away from home, having last won on the road against the Edmonton Oilers in early December. The victory did little to assuage the overall situation for the Senators this season. They’re seventh in the Atlantic Division, six points behind the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
But, baby steps.
After all, it was the game prior that saw the Sens cough up 53 shots on goal in a shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils. Piling up a win – and a convincing one – against the Sabres on the second half of a back-to-back counts for something in a season where little seems to count for much.
The Senators have to take wins where they can get them as they attempt to make something of themselves. This win against the Sabres is as good a win as any, especially when you consider that they held Buffalo to 30 shots on goal and managed to pop home three power play goals. That’s significant considering the Senators entered the contest with the league’s worst power play.
In fact, Ottawa held Buffalo off the shot clock for the first eight minutes of the game and that was something in and of itself. The Sabres climbed back into it Tuesday, but Mike Rielly scored the go-ahead almost nine minutes into the third period. Two empty netters, one for Mark Borowiecki and the other for Nikita Zaitsev, padded the stats for the visiting Senators.
“It’s always nice to get rewarded, but that’s just the cherry on top,” said Borowiecki, who got in the way of a Marcus Johansson shot before finding yawning twine. “I think I take more pride in the blocked shots than I do on the goal.”
It was nice to get a win for goalie Craig Anderson, too, who’d gone 0-4-1 ahead of this win and allowed 22 goals over that span. He stopped 28 Tuesday.
Make no mistake about it, the Senators are in yet another slump. But they’re 5-6-8 in their last 19.
Ottawa draws the surging Washington Capitals Friday, so they may want to savour this win for a moment or two.
Photo: Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images