Skip to main content

Michalek, Lehner help Senators defeat Sabres

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com

BUFFALO -- The Ottawa Senators needed some help to end a three-game losing streak and got it from goalie Robin Lehner.

Lehner made 35 saves, and Milan Michalek scored with 7:45 left in the third period to give the Senators a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Tuesday.

The Senators (21-22-9) have scored three goals in the past three games and Lehner made the two they scored against the Sabres stand up. Buffalo outshot Ottawa 21-4 in the second period but wasn’t able to score against the 23-year-old Swede.

"We went from having one of our best periods in the first to just a terrible second period," Senators forward Kyle Turris said. "[Lehner] stood on his head and kept us in it. We played terrible in the second period and we can’t let that happen. We came out in the third and played a bit better, we didn’t play as well as we did in the first, but it’s something we were able to close it out. We’ve got to learn from it and move on."

A key moment in the second came when Sabres defenseman Mike Weber had a goal disallowed with 3:52 left when officials ruled Sabres forward Marcus Foligno interfered with Lehner.

"I didn’t like it. I thought it was a goal," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "It didn’t look like he was in the crease. He was on the side of the net, but he didn’t look like he was on the side of the crease. The way the year’s going, those are the type of calls you’re going to get.

"If [Weber’s] goal counts, it’s a whole different game. I thought the momentum was starting to switch. It felt like this was the first time we outplayed a team and didn’t get win."

Foligno jostled for position with Senators defenseman Marc Methot in front of the net. Methot attempted to shove Foligno out of the way for Lehner to see, but in the process interfered with Lehner.

"The pass from behind the net to the half-wall and I couldn't take ice," Lehner said. "[Foligno] stood right in front. I had my skate on the post and still his pants [were] right in my face. I tried to take ice, but wasn't able to get there."

Michalek’s game-winning goal came when he put a rebound of a shot by Senators defenseman Patrick Wiercioch past Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth, who made 24 saves. Michalek returned to the lineup after missing Ottawa’s 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It was real nice. It was just finding a way," Turris said. "Trying to change momentum of the game and [Wiercioch] had a nice shot on net and [Michalek] went hard and was able to whack it in. Good day to get two points."

The Sabres (16-36-3) have lost three of four games during a five-game homestand.

Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers made it 1-1 with a power-play goal 5:08 into the third period. With Senators defenseman Eric Gryba in the box for elbowing, Myers took a slap shot from inside the blue line that got past Lehner. Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons screened Lehner and helped Myers score his fourth goal.

"We’ve been in so many close games that it’s just a matter of, at that time, which team is going to play now?" Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "Was it the one from the first period or the one from the second period? Those are good challenges for our club, especially for our young guys. What are we going to do with the ebbs and flows of the game? How are we going to handle the momentum shifts? To me the answer is simple, we compete, and I thought I we had a real good third period too."

Myers’ goal came on the Sabres’ 30th shot. Buffalo matched a Sabres-worst 10 shots on goal in a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday. The Sabres set a new season-high with 36 shots on goal.

"I think if we keep playing like we did in the second and third I think we’ll be rewarded," Myers said. "Our first period was not very good at all. We didn’t look engaged. ... That second period was one of our better periods of the year. ... We’ve just got to keep focusing on playing like that."

Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson gave the Senators a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal with 7:42 left in the first period. Karlsson received a pass from Turris and took a slap shot from outside the faceoff circle that deflected off the stick of Girgensons and past Enroth for his 13th goal.

"We got the win," Cameron said. "We’ve been playing reasonably well and it’s good to get the win. We found a way to win a win a hockey game on the road and that’s the bottom line."

Senators forward Bobby Ryan was scratched and replaced by Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Ryan dealt with a cramp Tuesday morning and left the ice early. He took warm-ups but did not play. There was no update on Ryan’s status afterward.

View More