Shaone Morrisonn scored his first goal of the season 1:59 into overtime to give Buffalo a 3-2 victory over Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Ryan Miller stopped 27 shots for the Sabres, who have won four of five. Buffalo, 10th overall in the East with 51 points, has moved within four points of the conference's final playoff spot thanks to a 9-3-1 run.
"It's huge for us to be in the hunt going into the break," said Morrisonn, who beat Brian Elliott for his first goal in nearly a year after Ottawa tied it with 6:04 left in regulation.
The veteran defenseman scored for the first time in 60 games dating to last Jan. 27, when he scored his only goal in 68 games with Washington last season.
Paul Byron got his first NHL goal midway through the first and Jochen Hecht scored later in the opening period to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead.
Sergei Gonchar pulled Ottawa even with a power-play goal 13:56 into the third. Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff stood atop the bench and argued to no avail after Gonchar's point shot found the back of the net while Nick Foligno collided with Miller as the Senators' left wing battled for position with defenseman Andrej Sekera.
"I think in all fairness if the referees got a second look at it they would realize that Miller wasn't allowed to make the save," Ruff said. "He was bumped before the puck got there and the goalie just has to be allowed to make the save. It's a tough call. They read it a little bit different. They don't have an opportunity to take a second look at it."
Miller expressed his displeasure with the referees' explanation of what they saw.
"They said the puck was in before I was interfered with," Miller said. "I obviously strongly disagree with that version of what happened on the ice, and I let them know that."
Byron, an Ottawa native who was recalled from Portland of the AHL on Saturday, tied it at 1 midway through the first for his second point in two games. Hecht put the Sabres ahead 2-1 with his eighth at 15:49.
Chris Kelly scored earlier in the first for Ottawa, which lost its seventh in a row at Scotiabank Place. The Senators, who have 42 points in 50 games, are 13th overall in the East.
"We've just got to keep pushing," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "It's still a matter of us not scoring enough to really make it easier on ourselves and we're going to have to find a way to put more pucks in the net or it's going to be the same thing, a lot of tight games or we'll be behind."
The home losing streak is the Senators' longest at the arena, and the team's worst home skid in 15 years to the day. Ottawa lost 10 in a row from Nov. 30, 1995 to Jan. 25, 1996, including its last six games at the Civic Centre and first four games in its new home, originally named the Palladium.
Elliott made 22 saves but has lost 11 in a row (0-7-4).
Kelly gave Ottawa an early 1-0 lead with his 11th goal, a highlight-reel effort 4:28 in.
Foligno stripped the puck off Morrisonn at the Sabres' blue line, setting up a 2-on-1 for Kelly and Alfredsson. Buffalo's Tyler Myers left the goal mouth open as he backed away to cut off a passing lane to Alfredsson and Kelly held the puck as he cut in front of Miller before reaching around to shoot past the sprawled goalie.
Byron drew Buffalo even at 10:05 with a determined effort. The 5-foot-9 forward drove the left side and got behind Ottawa's Zack Smith to redirect Tyler Ennis' centering pass beyond Elliott for his first goal.
The 21-year-old Byron, who played his junior hockey across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que., had an assist in his debut against the Islanders in Sunday's win at New York.
"I had all my family here and all my friends and guys I played hockey with throughout the years, so I probably had about 40-50 people here tonight," Byron said.
Drew Stafford, who returned after missing three games because of a groin injury, also drew an assist on Byron's goal.
NOTES: Byron was chosen 179th overall by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. ... Senators coach Cory Clouston used his timeout 3:48 into the second prior to a faceoff in Ottawa's zone. ... D Filip Kuba did not dress for Ottawa.
|Chris Kelly (11) ASST: Nick Foligno (11)|
1 - 0 OTT
|Paul Byron (1) ASST: Tyler Ennis (16), Drew Stafford (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Jochen Hecht (8) ASST: Tyler Myers (15), Thomas Vanek (22)|
2 - 1 BUF
|PPG - Sergei Gonchar (6) ASST: Erik Karlsson (20), Mike Fisher (9)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Shaone Morrisonn (1) ASST: Jason Pominville (17), Thomas Vanek (23)|
3 - 2 BUF
|Erik Karlsson Tripping against Paul Byron|
|Nathan Gerbe Roughing against Brian Lee|
|Drew Stafford Hooking against Chris Kelly|
|Tyler Myers Cross checking against Chris Kelly|
|Ryan Miller Tripping against Ryan Shannon|