Published December 12, 2013
OTTAWA, Ontario – Craig Anderson credited a couple of bounces among his 40 saves in the Ottawa Senators' latest win.
The veteran stood out in leading his club to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
"When called upon, you've got to be there for them," said Anderson, who earned his ninth win of the season. "Tonight was one of those nights where everything kind of went my way. I got the bounces.
"We did the little things that pay off and end up winning you the game as opposed to looking good on the score sheet."
Like the Senators, Anderson has had his share of struggles this season, but has looked better lately.
"Our goaltender obviously made a conscious decision that he was going to be competitive and gave us a chance to win," Senators coach Paul MacLean said.
MacLean has been looking for a more consistent effort from his team and with points in their last four games the Senators are finally showing signs of it.
"We've had a good week, but we can't be satisfied with that," Anderson said. "This week means nothing if we don't continue with the progress for the next game."
Bobby Ryan and Zack Smith scored for the Senators (13-14-6), who have earned at least a point in four straight games.
Tyler Ennis scored the lone goal for the Sabres (7-23-2), and Ryan Miller made 30 saves.
This was the second of back-to-back games between the teams. Buffalo earned a 2-1 shootout victory on Tuesday.
Anderson was solid in the third with the Senators holding a 2-1 lead. He made a big early save on Mark Pysyk, and another on Drew Stafford late to preserve the lead. He was called upon yet again in the final two minutes after Milan Michalek took a holding penalty.
"I think Anderson played well," Ennis said. "Scoring goals is hard."
These teams have a history of playing a less-than-exciting games against each other, which could be a reason for the second smallest crowd of the season with just 15,578 on hand.
"We've struggled to put wins together, so when you get four games and points in all of them it's pretty huge," Smith said. "It's good to get going and get the confidence up."
The second period was a struggle for both teams. Ottawa continued to have trouble in its end, but was fortunate as the Buffalo offense had its own problems.
Smith's second-period goal at the 6:39 held up as the winner.
Kyle Turris sent a pass to Smith that bounced off a skate and onto his stick before he swept it past Miller.
Ottawa nearly gave up the first goal but caught a break when John Scott was called for goaltender interference early in the game.
The Senators made the most of the opportunity and scored first as Ryan scored his 15th of the season midway through the period. Turris made a cross-ice pass to Ryan, who was left alone in front.
Buffalo coach Ted Nolan admitted both goals were just a matter of players breaking down for a couple of seconds.
"If you don't turn for one split second, it's in the net," he said. "That's what happened."
The Sabres made it 1-1 on a power-play wraparound goal by Ennis late in the first.
The Senators will look to extend their point streak Saturday afternoon when they take on the Los Angeles Kings.
NOTES: Ottawa native D Cody Ceci played his first NHL game. D Joe Corvo played in his 700th NHL game. D Jared Cowen sat out the first of his two-game suspension. The Senators also recalled C Jean-Gabriel Pageau. ... D Marc Methot was out with the flu, and LW Matt Kassian was a healthy scratch for the Senators. ... The Sabres were without top-scoring C Cody Hodgson, who has an undisclosed injury. D Brayden McNabb was a healthy scratch.