The Buffalo scuffle

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:31 PM ET

BUFFALO -- Well, I guess Brian McGrattan can get ready to dress again.

The back end of the Senators-Buffalo Sabres rematch -- call it the Rumble on the Rideau -- is tomorrow night at Scotiabank Place (CBC, 7:30 p.m.), but it will have to be a hell of a game to top last night's tussle at the HSBC Arena.

The duke out ended with a shootout, as the Sabres grabbed a 6-5 win with Drew Stafford scoring the only goal of the shootout which went eight shooters deep.

It was a wild end to a wild game.

All hell broke loose in the second period after a hard, unpenalized check by Senators winger Chris Neil knocked Sabres co-captain Chris Drury out of the game.

That sparked revenge-fueled brawling that saw the Sabres go after Ottawa's top guys, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, with their goons.

McGrattan, the Senators tough guy, was a healthy scratch for the ninth straight game last night as the two teams combined for 100 minutes in penalties in the second period.

LIKE WILD WEST

It might be Western New York, but last night it was the Old West.

It was old-time hockey after Neil kayoed Drury when the Ottawa winger's right shoulder caught Drury in the side of the head just after he had taken a shot in the Ottawa zone.

Drury was left dazed and bloodied on the ice and did not return.

"My take on it is it was a late hit, a dirty hit," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "He was vulnerable and I don't condone it. (Drury) shot the puck and the hit was a second or two late.

"(Neil) took advantage of a guy in a vulnerable position."

After Neil fought with Stafford, Ruff put tough guys Andrew Peters, Adam Mair and callup Patrick Katela on the ice against Ottawa's top line.

You knew why they were out there.

Peters went after Heatley, grabbing him by the face and Mair jumped Spezza, landing two or three blows to his head.

'OBVIOUS' MOVE

"It's very obvious what (Ruff) did, what his objective was. It was to go after Spezza, our top guy," said Senators GM John Muckler. "I don't think he has a right to do that. I didn't read in the rulebook where that's fair."

As all the players on the ice paired off, goaltenders Ray Emery of Ottawa and Martin Biron of the Sabres squared off.

Emery, playing his first game after serving a three-game suspension, showed his reputation as a scrapper is well-earned, making short work of Biron.

Emery then had to take on the 6-foot-4, 247-lb. Peters, who raced over and grabbed him.

Senators coach Bryan Murray, coaching his 1,200th game, was furious, jumping up on the boards and leaning around the glass that separates the two benches to scream at Ruff.

Ruff made his way to that end of the bench to scream back and there was lots of finger pointing, but it didn't go beyond that.

"I've listened to Lindy cry on TV so many times," said Murray after the game. "I'm not going to believe him anymore. I thought it was a good bodycheck. Then he sends out his guys to sucker punch our guys. That was uncalled for.

"There have been suspensions before (in this situation) and I'm sure the league will look into this."

Emery was back in the lineup after serving his three-game suspension for highsticking Montreal forward Maxim Lapierre.

Both Emery and Biron were kicked out of the game. Emery racked up 22 penalty minutes with a minor for leaving the crease, two fighting majors and a game misconduct.

The Senators received 37 minutes for their part in the second-period melee and the Sabres 63.

Oh, yeah, there was a game.

The Senators had broken on top 2-0 on goals by Daniel Alfredsson and Heatley, but the Sabres scored three straight by Drury and two in 39 seconds by Thomas Vanek to take the lead.

That's where it stood when the brawling started.

Heatley tied it on the ensuing power play, but goals by Clarke Macarthur (he poked the puck in after Ottawa's Martin Gerber, replacing Emery, lost the puck in his feet) and Dmitri Kalinin early in the third made it 5-3.

But Spezza, with his 23rd of the year, and Mike Fisher, with his 14th at 8:58 of the third, tied it again.

Overtime ended with the Senators on the power play, but Miller made a great stop to turn back Ottawa's best chance off Heatley's stick.


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