Sens jump on Alfie's back

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

The Senators playoff panic meter has now taken a twitch toward "whew."

It looked like it was going the other way (toward "gulp") before the Senators launched a furious rally that saw them scored five unanswered goals for a much-needed 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Goals from Dean McAmmond (short-handed), a pair by Daniel Alfredsson, the winner from defenceman Anton Volchenkov (his first of the season) in the final eight minutes of the game erased a 3-1 Sabres lead and will have the Senators and their fans breathing easier this morning.

"No more Nogolov," said Volchenkov, kidding with Jason Spezza after the game. "I just tried to shoot it quick and I think it went off a Sabre's stick."

The win, which snapped a two-game losing streak, gives the Senators 91 points and realistically puts them within one win from locking up a playoff spot.

That could come tomorrow night when the Senators host the Sabres.

It wasn't looking good for much of the third period last night. The Senators had given up goals to Buffalo's Derek Roy (his second of the game) and Jason Pominville (him again?) just 25 seconds apart early in the third to fall behind 3-1.

But McAmmond finished off a beautiful short-handed rush at 12:20 of the third, tapping in a feed from Antoine Vermette to make it 3-2.

At 14:02, Alfredsson snapped a shot over the glove hand of Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, who was extraordinarily deep in his net, to tie the game.

Volchenkov got the winner on a blast from the point at 18:04.

"It feels really good, we showed character," said Alfredsson. "When Dean scored that short-handed goal, it gave us momentum. It made them more cautious and we took advantage of it.

"Then we had our sniper get the game winner," the captain joked about the player formerly known as Nogolov.

Before their little meltdown in the third, the Senators had a promising start last night with Christoph Schubert giving them a 1-0 lead in the first. The shaking up of the defensive pairings -- because of a knee injury suffered by Wade Redden on Monday night vs. Montreal -- and some line shuffling by coach and GM Bryan Murray seemed to be working.

Murray opted to give rookie Brian Lee his first NHL start rather than shift Schubert from forward to defence.

With Lee coming in, Murray also took the opportunity to completely revamp his defensive pairings, splitting up the shutdown duo of Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips.

Lee, the club's top pick (ninth overall) in 2005, played with Phillips while Volchenkov was matched up with veteran Luke Richardson. Meszaros, Redden's usual partner, switched from the right to the left side and skated alongside Mike Commodore.

Lee wound up saving a goal early in the second period when he twice blocked shots by Buffalo's Paul Gaustad after the puck got behind goalie Martin Gerber.


Videos

Photos