BUFFALO — They were tipping their caps to Daniel Alfredsson Friday at HSBC Arena as he scored his 1,000th NHL point in style.
The Senators captain reached the milestone on a hat-trick goal into an empty net with 22 seconds left as the club snapped a four-game road winless skid with a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Ryan Shannon also scored for the Senators, who entered the game in the NHL basement.
Career point No. 999 couldn’t have come at a better time. Alfredsson fired a shot by Ryan Miller on the blocker side at 10:44 of the second to give the Senators a 3-2 lead going into the third period.
Goalie Brian Elliott may have upped his lifetime record to 9-0-0, but he didn’t wake up until the third when he faced 19 shots. Tim Connolly scored twice to keep Buffalo in the game going to the third.
The Senators were forced to make adjustments with centre Jason Spezza a late scratch because of a groin injury that has been bothering him since camp. His status for Saturday’s game against Montreal was unknown.
This was by the Senators’ best game this season. They were using their speed, firing the puck from everywhere and making the most of their chances. It also helped that captain was on top of his game.
After being pulled Monday against the Penguins, Elliott was given a second chance to help get the Senators back on track by coach Cory Clouston. The team played well in front of Elliott, but the same can’t be said for the goalie himself.
Elliott made Connolly look like a superstar. He fired a shot from the top of the circle that Elliott should have had as it beat him under his arm blocker side to tie it 2-2 at 4:45 of the second. It was only the seventh shot Elliott faced.
Earlier, Shannon had given the Senators a 2-1 lead at 3:27 after Tyler Myers coughed up the puck to Nick Foligno behind the net. Shannon picked it up in front and put over top of Miller, who was down in his crease.
The Senators had their best first period of the season, but it didn’t show on the scoreboard. Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, they completely outplayed Buffalo and forced Miller to come up big by outshooting the Sabres 13-4.
Connolly tied up only 2:04 after the Senators opened the scoring. He took a shot from the blue line that Elliott should have had. It didn’t hit anything as it beat him low along the ice.
Alfredsson’s second of the season on the power play gave the club the lead at 11:54. He tipped a shot from the point by Erik Karlsson by Miller. It was only the second time this season Ottawa scored first.
Alfredsson’s 1,000th point came against a fitting opponent. He scored his first career point against Buffalo on Oct. 7, 1995.