BUFFALO, N.Y. - Derek Roy had a goal and two assists and the Buffalo Sabres avoided blowing a three-goal lead to beat the slumping road-weary Ottawa Senators 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Matt Ellis, Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek with a game-sealing empty-netter in the final minute also scored for the Sabres, who won their third straight and snapped a four-game home losing streak against their Northeast Division rivals. Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots to win for the fourth time in five starts.
Jason Spezza scored both goals for the Senators 32 seconds apart in the second period after Ottawa fell behind 3-0. Spezza had an opportunity to cap the comeback, but was robbed with 4:25 left when his slapshot from the right circle was snagged by Miller.
The Senators dropped to 1-5-1 during an eight-game road trip that ends at Boston on Thursday. Ottawa also dropped to 1-12-3 in its past 16 games away from home.
The Sabres appeared ready to run away with the game after Ellis opened the scoring 15 seconds in when he was set up in high slot by Paul Gaustad, who forced a turnover at the left boards. The goal was the Sabres' fastest to open a game since Vladimir Tsyplakov scored 10 seconds in at Montreal on Nov. 25, 2000.
The Sabres eventually built a 3-0 lead 5:29 into the second period when Roy was credited with a goal during a scramble in front. Alex Auld stopped Roy's shot, but the rebound caromed in off the skate of teammate Mike Fisher.
Ottawa finally gained life when Spezza scored twice to cut the lead to 3-2 at the 7:34 mark of the second period. The first goal came when, standing in the right corner, Spezza banked in a shot off the glove of goalie Ryan Miller, who failed to protect the near post.
Spezza then scored a more conventional goal, beating Miller through the legs on a breakaway following a Sabres turnover in the Senators' end.
The game had its chippy moments, the most curious coming late in the first period when Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters was rubbing his glove across the face of Jarkko Ruutu only to have the Senators forward bite the glove right off Peters' hand. Peters doubled over in pain clutching his thumb and complained to the officials.
Peters was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for going after Ruutu behind the play, while Ruutu was not penalized.
Notes: Ottawa, which hasn't played at home since a 5-4 win over Dallas on Dec. 20, has been on the road because the team's arena was used for the just-concluded World Junior Hockey Championship. ... Senators are 4-13-3 on the road this season after winning 20 or more in each of their previous five seasons. ... Sabres were without D Toni Lydman (flu) and RW Max Afinogenov, who's out indefinitely after hurting his groin at Boston on Saturday. ... Sabres D Craig Rivet returned after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury.