Skip to main content

Spezza scores twice, adds assist to lead Senators to 3-1 win over Sabres

Spezza scored two power-play goals and added an assist, while Emery made 35 saves in Ottawa's 3-1 victory over the Sabres on Saturday night. The Senators have handed the Buffalo three of its six regulation losses this season.

"I wouldn't say we've solved them," Spezza said. "We definitely get up for these guys. They beat us last year in the playoffs, and we're developing a bit of a rivalry."

Emery chuckled when a reporter mentioned the playoffs as incentive for the quality of his play against Buffalo.

"I think I owe them a bit for last year," said Emery, who allowed 15 goals in four playoff losses against the Sabres in May. "If you're not up to play these guys, they'll come back to bite you."

Dany Heatley had a goal and assist for Ottawa, which rebounded from a 6-0 loss at Nashville on Thursday. Jochen Hecht scored for Buffalo, which had its winning streak snapped at three. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who lost for the second time in his last eight decisions, made 26 saves.

"I don't like to lose to them," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It gives them confidence. It's something we have to rectify as a team."

Buffalo still leads the league in goal-scoring, but has been held to three goals in its last two games. They have gone five games without scoring more than three, but opponents do not believe the Sabres are in a tailspin.

"They're still fast and flying around," Emery said. "All teams go through spells. I'm sure with the guys they've got, they'll bounce back."

"They've been going at such a high clip," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "They're due for games where maybe the other team will outwork them. I thought we did for the most part."

Heatley opened the scoring at the 5:42 mark of the first period, swiping in a puck that was already going into the net. Andrej Meszaros took a shot from the point and it was tipped by Buffalo's Thomas Vanek before going through Miller's legs. The puck was creeping toward the goal line when Heatley tapped it for his team-high 19th goal of the season.

Spezza made it 2-0 with a power-play goal with 2:31 remaining in the opening period. He was stationed on the left side of the slot and completed a tic-tac-toe play that Heatley began from behind the Buffalo net.

In the second period, Hecht reduced the lead to 2-1 on a power-play goal with just under six minutes remaining. Brian Campbell fired a shot from just inside the blue line, and Hecht tipped it while in the slot.

Spezza scored his second of the night, raising his season total to 19, when he lifted a shot over a prone Miller after Andrew Vermette fed a drop pass from the slot.

Spezza had an opportunity for a hat trick, but missed a penalty shot with 12:50 remaining.

The Sabres had one power play chance while trailing 3-1, but mustered only one shot on Emery.

"They were ready and took advantage of the chances we handed them," Hecht said. "We couldn't bear down on ours."

Notes: Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson returned to the lineup after missing five games with a hip injury. F Peter Schaefer also came back from an eye infection which sidelined him for one game. D Wade Redden was out for an eighth game with a chest injury. ... Buffalo was 1-of-6 on the power play, but have converted only 5 of their last 56 opportunities. Ottawa scored twice in four chances. ... Spezza has a point in 11 of 12 games. ... Heatley broke a five-game streak without a goal, matching his season long streak. He has not gone six games without a goal since 2001-02, his rookie season.


Ondrej Palat

Five Stanley Cup Final Free Agents Your Team Should Want

The Avalanche and Lightning both know how to win it all, but some of their key pieces could be hitting the open market soon.


Kluzak and Gilmour: A tale of Two Knee Injuries

Gord Kluzak, the No. 1 pick in 1982, saw his career completely derailed, while seventh-rounder Doug Gilmour skated into the Hall. This is a story of two players with wildly different careers.

Ilya Mikheyev

Leafs Open to Trading Pending UFA Forward Ilya Mikheyev

The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly informed teams that they're open to moving the rights to pending UFA Ilya Mikheyev ahead of the start of July 13's free agency.