BUFFALO, N.Y. – A leg massage and a few sips of coffee between periods were all Kyle Turris needed to give himself and the slow-starting Ottawa Senators some jump.
Turris scored twice, including the winning goal 3:54 into overtime, and added an assist to help the Senators overcome an early two-goal deficit and beat the unraveling Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Saturday.
“I don’t know what it was, but my legs didn’t feel the best in the first period,” Turris said, before noting how the massage and injection of caffeine provided him a boost during the first intermission. “I felt much better in the second and much better in the third. I don’t know why, but it happens like that sometimes.”
Turris capped the Senators’ three-goal second period by scoring on a wraparound goal with 63 seconds left. After Buffalo’s Drew Stafford tied it at 3 with 7:54 left in regulation, Turris sealed the win with a power-play goal in overtime.
With Christian Ehrhoff off for interference, Daniel Alfredsson fed Turris in the lower left circle, where he one-timed a shot over goalie Ryan Miller’s shoulder on the short side.
Patrick Wiercioch had a goal and assist, and Chris Phillips also scored for Ottawa, which won for only the second time in eight games (2-2-4). Ben Bishop made 33 saves in his first start in four games. The Senators also extended their string of games decided by one goal to 11, one short of matching the NHL record set by Chicago during the 1997-98 season.
Stafford scored twice, and Mike Weber added a goal for Buffalo, which dropped to 1-2-3 in its past six games.
While the Senators celebrated their ability to bounce back after a sloppy first period, the Sabres lamented yet another inconsistent outing.
“I thought the first (period) was probably one of our best periods of the year, and the second was probably one of our worst,” Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said. “We must have just got comfortable.”
The Sabres (10-14-4) can’t afford to get comfortable given how coach Lindy Ruff was fired a month ago
Their fans continued to express their displeasure of a high-priced team that opened the season with high expectations. An hour after the game, one fan was heard inside the near-empty arena yelling, “Darcy’s got to go!” in reference to Sabres general manager Darcy Regier.
“It’s disappointing,” Sabres captain Jason Pominville said. “We just can’t get one point. We have to be able to get two points. We had a two-goal lead, and it just wasn’t good enough.”
That two-goal lead Buffalo enjoyed was its largest entering a second period in 32 games, dating to March 27 of last season. And the Sabres promptly squandered it.
Ottawa scored twice in the first 10:14, during a stretch in which it outshot Buffalo 12-2. Turris then gave the Senators their first lead by avoiding Jochen Hecht’s weak stick check attempt and banking the puck in off Miller’s skate.
Senators coach Paul MacLean was impressed by how his team rallied.
“That’s what we had to do—respond,” MacLean said. “Down 2-0 on the road, the next goal is huge. And I thought we came out and established our game finally and put some pressure on their goaltender.”
The Senators took full advantage of the flat-footed Sabres less than two minutes into the second period. During a 10-second span, Miller was forced to stop four shots—two by Jakob Silfverberg and two by Peter Regin—from in close. They all came after defenceman Robyn Regehr’s lazy giveaway inside his blue line.
Miller finished with 30 saves, including foiling Guillaume Latendresse, who was set up on the doorstep shortly before Turris scored in overtime.
Bishop was sharp, too. His best save came with 2:27 left in regulation during a Sabres power play. That is when he got his right pad out just in time to stop Thomas Vanek’s one-timer.
He had no chance on Stafford’s second goal, which deflected in off Senators forward Zack Smith’s stick in front.
“It’s going to happen sometimes,” Bishop said. “We responded well, so, no big deal.”
NOTES: Sabres LW Ville Leino had an assist in his season debut. He missed the first 27 games with a hip injury. … Senators D Sergei Gonchar had two assists to extend his point streak to six games. … Sabres RW Patrick Kaleta completed his five-game NHL suspension for an illegal hit, and is available to return to play at Washington on Sunday. … Senators LW Matt Kassian made his NHL season debut after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota on March 12. Kassian had been playing with Houston of the AHL.