NHL: Ottawa Senators eliminate Buffalo Sabres to advance to Stanley Cup finals

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ottawa Senators 3 2 Buffalo Sabres

After scoring to tie the game on home ice in the third period, the Buffalo Sabres were defeated, Saturday afternoon, at the 9:32 mark in overtime on a goal by Ottawa Senators Captain Daniel Alfredsson.

The win by the Senators knocked the Sabres out of the Stanley Cup race and sent the Senators to the finals for the first time in modern franchise history. The Senators are now a total of 12 and 3 in the three series so far, with only one loss per series. They now await the outcome of the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings series to see who they will play in the finals. On Sunday, the Ducks pulled ahead 3 games to 2 on the Red Wings with their overtime win on an unassisted Teemu Selanne goal at 11:57 into the first overtime period.

Alfredsson now has ten goals in the playoffs, and is in good standing for consideration as playoff MVP. The Senators first line dominated the game after being shut out in the previous game. Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza both scored on Saturday. Spezza also had one assist, while Heatley managed two assists, one of which came on the game-winning goal. Ray Emery made 27 saves in the win for Ottawa.

"What else can you say about Alfie?" said Spezza. "He's been our leader the whole time. It's only fitting he scores that winner."

Jochen Hecht and Maxim Afinogenov scored for the Sabres, while Ryan Miller made 22 saves. It was the third loss in the series for the Sabres at HSBC Arena, who were unable to capitalize on their home-ice advantage.

"We had a lot to be proud of," said Lindy Ruff, the Sabres head coach. "It's disappointing. It's painful. You've got to grow, you've got to stick with the program. It was a fun year. It was hard to lose those two overtime games here in our building."