Buffalo Sabres goaltender Martin Biron proved that theory wrong on Saturday night as he led his team to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators in front of a sellout crowd of 19,202 at Scotiabank Place.
Biron damaged his skate blade during the warm-up and had to get his skates sharpened before the opening period. He then faced just five shots in the first period, which was delayed close to fifteen minutes when a pane of glass shattered.
“This was a weird night,” Biron said after collecting the win in his first start of the season.
“My skates were totally shot and I had to get them sharpened which is something I totally hate because I hate getting undressed. Then I had to get dressed again and do all my tape around my ankles. I go back, didn’t get too many shots and then the glass broke, so there’s another 10 or 15 minutes, so you’re starting to get cold.
“Sometimes those nights go against you, some nights they go for you. Maybe that’s what I needed.”
The Sabres provided Biron with a 2-0 lead after that opening period on goals by defenceman Henrik Tallinder and Brian Campbell. Tallinder scored 33 seconds into the game on the first Buffalo shot, and Campbell scored in the final minute.
They received third period goals from Chris Drury, who also had an assist, and Jason Pominville. Daniel Briere chipped in with two assists.
Jason Spezza scored twice for the Senators in the third period while Dean McAmmond scored in the second.
“We got the start we needed, and I know a goalie likes to get in the game early, but we kept the tough chances away from him,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
“He got kind of eased into the game which I think gave him a lot of confidence.”
The Senators came alive in the second period firing 18 shots at Biron, but the only one to beat him came off the stick of McAmmond who put the puck in between the crossbar and Biron’s shoulder. That was the first goal the Senators scored on home ice this season after they were blanked 6-0 in their home opener Thursday by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Martin Gerber made his third straight start for the Senators and, after a strong opening night in Toronto when he made 33 saves, he was pulled after two periods Thursday having surrendered five goals on 24 shots.
The Senators outshot the Sabres 37-24.
Ahead 2-1 heading into the final period, Drury gave the Sabres a 3-1 cushion when he elected to shoot on a three-on-one break. His shot from the top of the faceoff circle beat Gerber to the far side three minutes into the period.
Spezza pulled the Senators to within a goal when he tipped a Dany Heatley shot past Biron with less than five minutes to go in the game.
A little more than a minute later, Pominville gave the Sabres their two-goal lead back, but Spezza replied just 10 seconds later cutting Sabres lead to 4-3.
The two goals by Spezza in a span of one minute and 22 seconds were both assisted by Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson after the line was revived by coach Brian Murray.
Spezza and Heatley make up two thirds of the first line normally, while Alfredsson is the second line right-winger. The trio were together for a good portion of last season and had success.
“It doesn’t give us as strong of a second line, but I don’t think we had a choice,” Murray said as his team struggled to score goals.
Spezza thinks it was a good move on the part of the coach to generate some offence.
“We’re pretty creative guys and we read off each other pretty well,” Spezza said. “We’ve played together a lot and it was a good move by Brian putting us together. Both lines we’re kind of struggling so it was good at the end that we were able to put a couple in.”
Senators’ fans got their first chance of the season to cheer at 11:37 of the second period when McAmmond rifled a shot into the top corner past Biron for their first goal on home ice this season.
Notes: The Senators returned defenceman Tomas Malec to their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton. Malec was an emergency call up to replace injured defenceman Tom Preissing for one game. Preissing was back in the lineup SaturdayaThe Senators are off until Thursday when they host the Calgary Flames. The Sabres next play Friday in Detroit.