Hard work pays off for Senators

Posted on December 16, 2009

Hard work pays off for Senators

It wasn't pretty, but it was exactly what the Senators needed to beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 Wednesday night.

Ottawa (17-12-4) playing with a depleted lineup proved that hard work and patience can go a long way.

"It was a great team effort," said coach Cory Clouston. "Everybody did their role, everybody did their jobs and it was a nice win."

Brian Elliott, making his 13th straight start in the absence of the injured Pascal Leclaire, made 22 saves and earned his second shutout in four games.

"Obviously you go into every game wanting to stop every puck," said Elliott. "I was able to make all the saves I should and maybe a couple I shouldn't so that's all you want."

The Sabres who came into the game winners of their last four and eight of their last ten seemed to be caught off guard by the Senators, who compensated for their injuries with hard work.
 
"Not real impressive on our part," said Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. "Ottawa played a pretty solid game, but we've got to be better."

Ottawa took a 1-0 lead off Alexandre Picard's first-period goal and never let up. Mike Fisher, with his 15th, secured the win, scoring with just over one minute remaining.
 
The Senators will be playing with the makeshift lineup for a while as it appears Jason Spezza will miss six to eight weeks with a torn medial collateral ligament.
 
Ottawa also missed winger Nick Foligno, who is out indefinitely with a lower body injury. The absences forced Senators coach Cory Clouston to work on his juggling as he looked to fill some holes.
 
One of the more creative moves was having defenceman Chris Campoli, who had been a healthy scratch the last two games, play the wing.
 
The Senators got off to a strong start despite all the changes, outshooting the Sabres 11-5 in the opening period and challenging Miller a number of times. Miller, who faced 27 shots, made a great goal-line save on Ryan Shannon with six minutes remaining.
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"I don't think we generated enough on the front end,? said Miller. "They put a game plan together and did it a little bit better than us."

The Senators managed to score late in the first as Picard beat Miller with Jonathan Cheechoo providing the perfect screen.
 
"It doesn't matter how we win as long as we're finding ways and playing good defensively," said Fisher.  "A bunch of guys played really well. We just need to stick to our good team game."

The Senators' power play continued to struggle, going 0-for-3, although they did have some chances. Shannon had a shot catch the inside of the post and bounce right out early in the third.

Ottawa's penalty kill made up for it as the Sabres (20-10-2) were 0-for-6 with the man advantage. The Senators took back-to-back minor penalties midway through the third, but kept Buffalo's chances to a minimum.
 
"We followed the game plan and had real good efforts," said Clouston. "When we did give up a shot I thought Brian played very well."

Ottawa's makeshift lineup will be tested as the Senators play four games in the next week.