Sabres 2, Senators 0
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ A game after being pulled for being ineffective, Dominik Hasek returned to form.
The five-time Vezina Trophy winner stopped 34 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as the Buffalo Sabres beat Ottawa 2-0 Friday night, handing the Senators their season-high third straight loss.
Vaclav Varada and Miroslav Satan scored for Buffalo.
The Senators are winless in five games.
``It was a special game for me because I was pulled out from the last game,″ Hasek said. ``However, I can not say that I was ready more than for the last game.″
He was just much better.
The shutout _ the 49th of Hasek’s career _ came after he was pulled in the second period of Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh, when he allowing three goals on 16 shots.
``In the past when he’s criticized for an effort he always comes up with a big game,″ said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. ``You could see the focus. He looked sharp right from the start.″
Actually, Hasek only had to face two Ottawa shots in the first period, but the Senators barraged him with shots during the final two periods.
The Senators outshot Buffalo 20-5 in the second period, but couldn’t put the puck in. The Sabres hadn’t allowed that many shots in a period since Boston had 21 in the second on Dec. 12, 1998.
Both Buffalo goals resulted from Ottawa’s inability to clear the puck out of its own zone.
In the first period, Senators defenseman Karel Rachunek gloved the puck out of the Ottawa end into the neutral zone. But the Senators were in the middle of a line change, and Varada swooped in and picked up the loose puck. His shot from about 30 feet knuckled over the left shoulder of Ottawa goalie Patrick Lalime to make it 1-0 at the 8:16 mark.
``I just picked it up,″ Varada said. ``I knew I had no one to pass to so I just took a shot. I thought the one goal was going to be enough.″
Then in the third period, Ottawa’s Shawn McEachern tried to clear the puck. Satan _ about 4 feet in front of McEachern _ stopped the puck and flicked a wrist shot past Lalime for his 12th goal of the season.
In the second period, Ottawa beat Hasek twice, but shots by John Emmons and Marian Hossa hit the post.
With 3:29 left in the period, Senators defenseman Chris Phillips’ shot from about 30 feet was initially stopped by Hasek but slid between his legs. Hasek fell back onto the puck before it crossed the goal line.
``We had several opportunities,″ said Ottawa coach Jacques Martin. ``We hit a couple of goal posts in the second period that could have made the difference in the game. If those go in it’s a different hockey game.″
Hasek said that his teammates’ play was the biggest part of his being able to hold off the Senators in the second.
``Twice the post helped me, but most of the time my teammates helped me,″ he said. ``Ninety nine percent of the shots I could see. There were not any rebounds so my teammates helped me a lot.″
The Senators realized that, despite their 34-19 shot advantage, they didn’t crash the net the way they had to.
``Against a goalie like Hasek you have to get a little more traffic in front of him,″ said Ottawa forward Marian Rossa.
Hasek got his first victory in his last 10 games against Ottawa, ending an 0-5-4 slide. He is now 18-7-5 against the Senators for his career.
Notes: The game was Lalime’s 100th in the NHL. ... Buffalo hasn’t lost two straight at home since dropping three in a row last January. The Sabres are 23-8-2-1 at HSBC Arena since. ... The Senators’ two shots in the first period were their fewest for a period this season.