Sabres Buffaloed

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

BUFFALO -- On Boxing Day, the Senators delivered a knockout punch.

The Senators closed out one of their toughest travel months of the season last night with a hard-fought 5-3 victory over the Sabres at the HSBC Arena.

The Senators, led by a three-point night from Dany Heatley (one goal, two assists), along with goals from captain Daniel Alfredsson, centre Mike Fisher, defenceman Wade Redden and winger Antoine Vermette, survived a third-period scare to post a 7-1-1 road record in December.

"You will take that every time and bottle it," coach John Paddock said of Ottawa's work away from home this month.

Paddock was also satisified with the Senators' effort last night.

"We did the best job in three games against them of not giving them much. I was pleased with how we played," said Paddock. "Penalties got called in the third on an explosive team and they had chances."

The Senators, who won their second straight, got a so-so outing from goalie Martin Gerber until he came up with some big stops late in the third period.

Not only did the Senators widen their lead in the Eastern Conference, they also halted the Sabres' six-game winning streak, potentially crushing any hope Buffalo had of challenging Ottawa for top spot.

Before the game, Buffalo players were calling their showdown with Ottawa a "measuring stick" of how they compare to the Senators.

The Senators, however, had a hard time keeping the Sabres at bay in the third period. First, Brian Campbell scored on the power play at 4:09 of the third to cut the Senators' lead to two goal and then Adam Mair narrowed it to one at 12:23 of the third.

There was a scary moment for Gerber in the first. He took a shot off the mask by Buffalo centre Tim Connolly at 4:11 mark that sent Gerber to the ice, but after a quick check he stayed in the game with a only scrape on his mask.

"That was a pretty hard shot," said Gerber. "I just kind of shook what's left of my brain loose and kept going."

On Fisher's goal, linemate Chris Neil did a lot of good work by going to the net and crashing into Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller before Fisher was able to put the loose puck in the crease home at 18:09 of the second.

Redden's goal was the 100th of his career.

"We had a lot of road games and we knew this was going to be a tough month," said Alfredsson. "We're happy with where we are, but we know we have a lot of work to do.

"We knew this was going to be a tough game, both teams were using it as a measuring stick and we both wanted to do well."

The Senators return home to face the Islanders tonight at Scotiabank Place at 7:30.


Videos

Photos