Friday was a night to remember for Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators. Not so for the Buffalo Sabres.
Alfredsson became the 75th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career points by scoring three goals in the Ottawa Senators' 4-2 victory at Buffalo on Friday night. Ottawa's captain had a goal in each period for his eighth career hat trick. His 1,000th point and third goal of the night came when he backhanded the puck into an empty net with 22 seconds remaining, wrapping up only the second win in seven games for the Senators this season.
"It's a big milestone, but it hasn't been on my mind at all with the struggles we've been going through," said Alfredsson, who has scored his all of his points -- 379 goals and 621 assists -- as a member of the Senators. "I got a bit lucky today, but it feels great to get the 1,000 points and win at the same time."
It's not surprising that the milestone came against the Sabres. Alfredsson has 41 goals against Buffalo, tying Jaromir Jagr and Peter Stastny for the most goals by an opponent against the Sabres.
"I don't know what it is, to be honest," Alfredsson said. "We respect (the Sabres) tremendously, and they are always tough to play against. I think because we respect them so much, we do well."
"You couldn't write a better script," Ottawa coach Cory Clouston said. "He was our best player tonight. We need him to step up like he did."
The Senators have won their last five visits to HSBC Arena and nine of their last 10. They are 26-8-4 overall against the Sabres since the start of the 2005-06 season.
"You want to have a positive feeling before every game, so that's how we took it," said goaltender Brian Elliott, who improved to 9-0-0 against Buffalo by stopping 34 shots. "We didn't approach it any differently. We created a lot of offense, and didn't grab our sticks tightly and panic."
The Senators won for the first time on the road this season -- and handed the Sabres their fifth loss in as many home games. The last time Buffalo went that many home games before getting a victory was 1993-94, when the Sabres lost their first six games in Buffalo.
Elliott made 20 saves in the third period. The Sabres pulled Ryan Miller in the final two minutes, but hurt their chances to tie when Steve Montador was called for interference with 1:11 remaining.
"I didn't have many shots in the first half, but they got a bunch in the third," Elliott said. "We did a good job of keeping the shots outside and clearing the rebounds away."
Tim Connolly had both goals for Buffalo (2-5-1), and Miller stopped 28 shots.
"Sometimes it's more of a chess match against a team like that," Miller said. "They won't give you a lot. You have to be willing to play a whole different game."
Shannon gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead at 3:27 of the second period, outmuscling Buffalo forward Mike Grier for a rebound in front before lifting the puck in. Connolly tied it again with his second of the game 1:18 later, but Alfredsson's second of the game at 10:44 of the second put Ottawa back in front to stay.
"We handed them two goals," an unhappy coach Lindy Ruff said. "We can't do that."
Alfredsson's power-play goal at 11:54 of the first period, a deflection of Erik Karlsson's point shot, gave the Senators their first lead. Connolly tied it at 13:58, beating Elliott from the left point.
The Senators won without center Jason Spezza, who sat out because of lingering groin issues. He missed the season opener against Buffalo two weeks ago with the same problem, but played in the last five games, accumulating a goal and 5 points. The Senators said he's day-to-day. They go home for a game against Montreal on Saturday night.