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Girgensons stars as Sabres top Senators in shootout

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- Zemgus Girgensons had a goal in regulation and scored in the 10th round of the shootout to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at First Niagara Center on Tuesday night.

Ryan Miller made 35 saves through regulation and overtime before denying Ottawa on seven of 10 attempts in the tiebreaker. The win snapped Buffalo's three-game losing streak (0-2-1).

"We haven't had a chance to win a lot of games," Miller said. "I want to win some games. So, if this is going to be my opportunity to win a game for any number of games, I got to take it and give these guys some confidence."

Girgensons' goal was the fourth for Buffalo in the shootout. Matt Moulson, Brian Flynn and Steve Ott also beat Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner in the tiebreaker.

"There were a lot of guys shooting," Girgensons said. "I was, I guess, out there as one of the last ones. I've never been a shootout guy before, so it was nice that I got that winner."

The Senators (12-14-6) jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Milan Michalek scored at 6:35 of the first period. Michalek and forward Cory Conacher broke into the offensive zone against defenseman Henrik Tallinder, and Conacher connected with Michalek with a saucer pass over Tallinder's stick. The goal was Michalek's fifth of the season.

"I thought we came on the road and we got a point, which is good," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "We're still gaining some traction in our game and a lot of things went good for us."

The Sabres (7-22-2) tied the game in the second period when Girgensons scored his third goal of the season at 13:15. The rookie forward chased down the rebound of a Christian Ehrhoff shot to Lehner's right, beat defenseman Joe Corvo to the puck and chopped it past Lehner.

"It looks like he's getting used to the League now," Sabres forward Tyler Ennis said of Girgensons. "It looks like he's getting more and more comfortable. He's playing great. That was a big goal for us and then a great move. People don't think he has good hands, but that was a nice goal in the shootout."

Girgensons played on the Sabres' top scoring line with Ennis and Matt Moulson following interim coach Ted Nolan's changes at practice Monday. The goal was his second in as many games. He had gone 27 games without a goal before scoring Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.

"It's nice to see him get rewarded for his work," Ehrhoff said. "He scored a great goal last game in Montreal, and tonight [it was] just a working effort that he got rewarded with a bounce. That's what we need."

At 15:30 of the second, the Sabres had an apparent goal disallowed when Senators center Jason Spezza accidentally put the puck past Lehner. There was a delayed high-sticking penalty coming up on Spezza, and the officials ruled the Ottawa captain controlled the puck in swiping it past Lehner, negating the goal.

"That was probably the best part of the game," Nolan said. "It was pretty devastating when they called back the goal. You could tell they were a little bit devastated. But they overcame it, they forgot about it, and they moved on. To get a win like that is an emotional win for us."

The Sabres fired 18 of their 36 shots on goal in the second period. The Senators also had 36 shots on goal.

"Anytime I know that you come on the road and get a point, that's usually a pretty good trip," MacLean said. "Did they want two points? Did they expect to get two points? No. We knew we had to come in here and work. We knew this team was going to work and we knew they had a goaltender that it's always a one-goal game against these guys."

The Sabres and Senators face each other again at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Thursday night.

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