Senators allow 4 straight goals in season-opening loss to Sabers

Craig Anderson has shown he’s still capable of making plenty of clutch saves. The 41-year-old Buffalo Sabers guard isn’t bad at cracking a few jokes between periods, either.

Anderson began his 20th NHL season by getting the last laugh by stopping 35 shots in a 4-1 win over one of his former teams, the Ottawa Senators, on Thursday night.

It was during the second intermission that Anderson delivered a fun message to calm Buffalo’s young field of players, and after a period in which he stopped Ottawa’s Tyler Motte and Tim Stultze in attempts to separate breakaway.

« I came in and told the guys I was 80% on the breakaways, so I stopped four of them, » he said, referring to a few other saves he made in First period. « The fifth is probably going to come in, so we should probably clean that up. »

It was a vintage commentary from a vintage goaltender, who enjoyed playing at Buffalo so much last season that he chose not to retire and return for another year.

« I think it’s just about keeping the light in the room, » said Anderson, who earned his 309th career victory, which ranks him fifth among American-born goaltenders. « It’s one of those things where there was no panic, and the guys settled in after that. »

After spotting the Senators’ first goal, Rasmus Dahlin and rookie JJ Peterka scored 2:54 apart in the second period. Victor Olofsson sealed the win by scoring twice into an empty net in the final 42 seconds.

WATCH | Dahlin of the Sabers scores the eventual winner against the Senators:

Sabers hold Senators to one goal in first win of season

Rasmus Dahlin’s second-period goal proved to be the winner as Buffalo beat Ottawa 4-1.

The Sabers have begun to build on the momentum from the end of last season, showing signs of gelling by winning 16 of their last 27 games. Although Buffalo set an NHL record for missing the playoffs for an 11th consecutive season, fifth place in the Atlantic Division was its best since third place in 2011-12.

Senators captain Brady Tkachuk fired a shot from the left circle during a 3-on-2 break to open the scoring midway through the first period. The Senators were defeated by power play, going 0 of 4, including failing to convert a two-man advantage stretching 49 seconds into the second period.

« We were able to score on the powerplay, which was really good for us, but it wasn’t tonight, » Senators coach DJ Smith said. « Execution. I think the guys probably wanted it too much and maybe just squeezed. They didn’t get into the net. But there were a lot of chances there, but they just don’t get in. not. »

Anton Forsberg stopped 32 shots in the season opener as the Senators starter in place of Cam Talbot, who is expected to miss another four to six weeks with an upper-body injury.

In the presence of star Bills quarterback Josh Allen and wearing a No. 89 Alex Tuch Sabers jersey, Peterka scored his first career NHL goal to tie the score at 4:31 of the start of the second period by performing a back and forth with teammate Dylan Cozens. on a right wing rush.

Dahlin then did much of the heavy lifting by scoring the go-ahead goal. Dahlin started the game by winning the Senators blue line before passing a pass and heading for the front of the net. The defender was left alone when he was trapped by a pass from Peyton Krebs behind the Ottawa net.

Sabers coach Don Granato blamed the two teams’ inconsistencies on opener jitters and credited Anderson with buying time for Buffalo to finally find their groove.

« It’s a great, great job tonight because we’re not going to win this game tonight without him holding things back at really key moments, » Granato said. « If you fall behind the way we would sometimes grip our stick, that’s not a good recipe. »

Anderson’s best save came with 7:40 to go, when he dived and pushed the puck off Stutzle’s stick from the left circle. Anderson also stuck his arm out to stop Claude Giroux’s snap shot on a 2-on-1 break with less than three minutes to go.

« Yeah, I passed out, » Anderson said, referring to his poke-check on Stutzle. « I wasn’t about to leave him a present and I took a chance. And, you know, I don’t know, maybe next time I’ll get beat up and look silly. But for us tonight, it worked. »


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