Buffalo Sabres overcome recent losses in Ottawa win

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 12: Kyle Okposo
BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 12: Kyle Okposo /

The Buffalo Sabres finally escaped the realm of overtime losses, with an impressive 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center.

The realm of overtime losses has seemed like an obstacle to overcome for the Buffalo Sabres. First it was the Chicago Blackhawks, in a game where Robin Lehner put out a 51-save performance, but didn’t get rewarded. Vladimir Tarasenko then took matters into his own hands when giving Buffalo another OT loss on Sunday.

This time, extra minutes were not needed. Goals from Kyle Okposo and Evander Kane propelled the Sabres to their eighth victory of the season, 3-2 over the Ottawa Senators.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau started off the contest by accepting a pass from Mike Hoffman. Pageau then sent it back to Hoffman, who couldn’t get a piece of the puck to slide it past Lehner.

Hoffman was given another opportunity, as Derick Brassard took a shot that rebounded off the Swede. Hoffman was unable to bury the rebound, as Lehner came over to make the stop.

Ottawa continued to dictate play in Buffalo’s own end for the opening frame. This all came to an abrupt halt as Zemgus Girgensons sent in Okposo all alone, but the former New York Islander shot the puck over the cage.

Hoffman opened up the second period with a quick shot on Lehner that looked tough to handle, but the 26-year-old goalie was able to deflect it away.

Then, Benoit Pouliot likely grabbed the Sabres’ goal of the year, as he sliced through four Ottawa players and scored on Mike Condon’s five-hole.

Moments later, Ryan O’Reilly sent a crisp pass to Okposo that was calmly netted past Condon for a sudden 2-0 lead.

Lehner continued to be strong in the Buffalo net, as Erik Karlsson sent a dish over to Bobby Ryan that was one-timed off the post.

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The momentum Lehner created gave the Buffalo Sabres their third goal of the night. Rasmus Ristolainen sent the puck over to Kane, who absolutely blistered it past Condon.

Ottawa did try to  come back however. Cody Ceci ripped a shot from the slot that went off of the post, but he managed to garner his own rebound and send it into the yawning cage.

Karlsson then sent the puck over to Brassard with seconds remaining. The former New York Ranger one-timed it home from way up top. The goal didn’t mean much though, as the Buffalo Sabres edged out the Senators until the final horn.

Key Stats:

Ottawa Senators

  • 26 shots on goal
  • 61 percent in the circle
  • 0/3 on the power play
  • Key Player: Brassard with some great movement and a goal

Buffalo Sabres

  • 25 shots on goal
  • 1/2 on the power play
  • 26 blocks
  • Key Player: Ristolainen with 2 assists

The Swords finally escaped the loss column for once. Buffalo has come so close lately, but hasn’t been able to seal the deal. Tuesday night was a completely different story, and it’s nice to see the blue and gold get a win they deserve.

Lehner has been lights out recently. The Sabres look like a completely different hockey club when he is on his game. Add in Kane with other regular performers, and you have yourself a competitive team.

Next: Time for Sabres to give Ullmark another chance

How can Buffalo build off this win? Can the Sabres play catch up in the Atlantic Division standings, or is it too late? Let us know in the comments below.