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Senators top struggling Sabres 4-1

by Erin Nicks /
KANATA, Ont. -- Kyle Turris' debut as an Ottawa Senators was a success.

The newest Senator had his first point of the season, setting up the first of Erik Condra's two goals, as Ottawa beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place.

"It's a great result," said Turris, who was acquired from Phoenix on Saturday. "It felt great -- it was really exciting coming in, and I started to feel better as the game went on and get my legs under me. I can (still) be a lot better. It felt really good (to hear the crowd). I'd like to thank everybody for the support. It felt like home."

Turris, the third pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, set up Condra for the go-ahead goal at 7:59 of the third period. Turris fired from near the right faceoff dot, regained control of his own rebound and chopped it to Condra, who whacked the puck behind Ryan Miller to snap a 1-1 tie.

"(Erik) made a real nice pass to me on the wing and I just tried to get a shot off," Turris said. "The rebound came right back to me and I tried to chop it over to Cons on the far post."

The Senators (16-15-4) added a power-play goal by Erik Karlsson with 2:11 left in regulation and Condra hit the empty net 25 seconds later.

Buffalo (16-14-3) got its lone goal from defenseman Jordan Leopold scored the lone goal for Buffalo -- his sixth of the season and third against Ottawa.

Craig Anderson stopped 22 of 23 shots for Ottawa, while Ryan Miller made 35 saves for the Sabres (16-14-3), who have dropped four of their last five -- including a 3-2 overtime loss to the Senators in Buffalo a week earlier.

Despite the loss, coach Lindy Ruff was pleased with the play of his goaltender.

"I thought Ryan looked sharp," he said. "He's put in a lot of work over the past couple of days. It's disappointing that we didn't get a kick at it."

Miller admitted that he has been feeling better and was happy to get the opportunity.

"I felt more like myself," he said. "It was nice to stay in the game. I wanted to be there for the guys and I felt better – like I could give them a chance. It was a good step forward for myself. I just didn't have it in Pittsburgh. I felt like I had it more tonight. It's just too bad that we couldn't grind it out."

Ottawa opened the scoring at 11:48 of the first period when Zach Smith tipped home a rebound after Miller stopped Chris Neil's breakaway. It was Neil's 100th career assist and his first point since Nov. 1. It was also the first point of the season for defenseman Matt Carkner, who drew the second assist.

Buffalo got even at 13:12 of the second period. With Colin Greening off for hooking, Leopold's bad-angle shot beat Anderson through the five-hole. Tomas Vanek picked his 200th career assist on the goal.

After Condra put the Senators ahead, Karlsson converted a perfect feed from Daniel Alfredsson for a power-play goal to provide some insurance. Jason Spezza drew the second assist, extending his streak to 12 points in six games. Condra's empty-netter completed the scoring.

Condra said that the work Ottawa put in on going hard to the net made the difference.

"I think it's going to be the game plan to (go hard to the net) every game," he said. "If we can execute that, we're going to be a tough team to play against. When we play quick defense and play hard against their guys, we get the offensive opportunities. It's just a matter of burying them. "

Ruff felt that missed opportunities cost his team the win.

"I thought in the second period we got going and we had five or six opportunities," he said. "We missed on the 4-on-4; we missed on a 2-on-1 where [Drew] Stafford didn't shoot. We knew that we couldn't play run-and-gun with them. There were two bad turnovers on the winning goal, where Luke [Adam] turned it over at the blue line, then Szczechura turned over at our blue line. You usually pay for those and we did."

In addition to the mistakes, Leopold referenced the need for the team to regain their offensive form.

"One goal isn't going to win it on the road," he said. "We've got to do our share and score some goals, too."

Ottawa's Jesse Winchester left the game with an upper-body injury after being hit into the boards by Paul Gaustad and didn't return. MacLean said that Winchester has suffered a concussion, but didn't offer any other updates after the game.
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