Well, not every Craig Anderson start can be a win, right? Anderson suffered his first loss in a Senators' jersey tonight as the Sabres managed to slip three by him, and put in an empty-netter to finish the job.
The Sabres got on the board first when Mike Grier made the most of a breakaway opportunity. The Sabres' then took a 2-0 lead in the second period when a strange bounce fooled goalie Craig Anderson. The Senators finally got on the board after a Sabres 4-on-1 failed and Erik Condra made a nice outlet pass to Jason Spezza, who settled down a bouncing puck and evaded Ryan Miller's pokecheck with a nice deke and roofed the puck.
In the third, the Sabres made it 3-1 with Jochen Hecht's rebound on a Buffalo 2-on-1. The Senators came within one when Spezza set up Milan Michalek who wired a shot top corner with under 2 minutes left. However, the Sabres would get an empty-net goal to put it out of reach, and leave with a 4-2 victory.
Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
Spezza was involved in both of the Senators' goals tonight, scoring the first and setting up the second. This isn't unusual for Jason -- in the 9 games since returning from injury, Spezza has 11 points. The Senators have scored 24 goals in that time, meaning Jason has been involved in 46% of the team's goals (H/T to Adnan for stats). Yeah, he's kind of important to this team.
Sens Zero: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson had a rough night, missing a wide open net at one point and then making a bad pinch that resulted in the Hecht goal. He finished -2 on the night with no points.
Sens Hero: Chris Phillips
Phillips was a much-needed steady presence on the back end tonight, blocking four shots and making some excellent plays in his own zone. He wasn't on the ice for any of Buffalo's goals against, despite playing against the other team's top players.
Sens Hero: Milan Michalek
Like Spezza, Michalek finished with a goal and an assist. He showed good speed through the game, and his goal was simply a perfect snipe from a great Spezza pass.
Honorable mentions: Craig Anderson, Erik Condra
Anderson made 35 saves and had a .921 save percentage on the night, and the only goals that went in on him were a breakaway, an awkward bounce because of Buffalo's arena, and a rebound after a 2-on-1. Condra had a good cross-ice pass on Spezza's breakaway goal, and was responsible in both ends of the ice.
How were the new guys?
Marek Svatos played 14:32 tonight, had 3 shots and finished even on the night. He showed some good offensive instincts, but looked like he still needed to get a bit more comfortable out there. Roman Wick played 8:38, mostly with Corey Locke and Francis Lessard. Wick showed good work along the boards, but his best asset was likely his speed and stick on the forecheck, where he almost caused a couple of turnovers.