BUFFALO -- The Senators could finally be on the road to somewhere.
It's only been a week since coach Cory Clouston took over from the fired Craig Hartsburg, but, in a 3-1 win over the Sabres last night, the Senators served notice that they're going to try to make the rest of the season meaningful even if the chances of a playoff spot are a longshot.
Forced to overcome bizarre officiating from Kerry Fraser and Chris Ciamaga, killing off 11-of-12 Sabres power-play chances, the Senators opened a five-game road trip with their second straight win over Buffalo -- backed by a 31-save performance from goalie Brian Elliott.
Daniel Alfredsson, Shean Donovan and Jason Spezza scored for the Senators, who also got two assists from Brendan Bell. The Senators had two power-play goals on their six opportunities.
"I think we're playing pretty well as a team. We've got confidence and that's a big thing," said Alfredsson.
It was only Ottawa's seventh road win this season.
"(Last night) was a great indication of the character in this room," said Clouston. "I know that, at times, it's been questioned and I haven't see any evidence of it whatsoever. I thought, if anything, our character has really shined through and has allowed us to get five of our last six points."
Ales Kotalik was able to beat Elliott -- who made some huge stops when the club had to kill off three straight power plays in the first period -- with the Sabres holding a two-man advantage at 1:29 of the third.
'FUN TO WATCH'
"Whenever you take penalties like that things aren't going great. But the guys did a really good job in front of and they kept the pucks to the outside," said Elliott. "It's fun to watch when we're forcing turnovers and we're getting opportunities.
"It allows us more offensive opportunities and it feels good. I think we can only go up from here. We just want to ride what we have here. Hopefully, we can keep it going."
The Senators held a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes, but faced adversity. Moments after Alfredsson scored his 16th goal of the season at 12:15 of the second on the power play, Fraser gave defenceman Jason Smith a triple-minor for roughing.
Rushing in to defend Alfredsson after he was hit by Patrick Kaleta near the Buffalo bench, Smith took down the linesman while trying to get his hands on Kaleta. As a result, Smith ended up with six minutes and a 10-minute misconduct, while Kaleta wasn't penalized.
"He just said six minutes for roughing and there wasn't any specific details," said Smith, who maintained he didn't say anything to get the misconduct. "You don't want to put your team in a short-handed situation, but the guys did a great job."
"You don't want to kill that many penalties off in a game, you don't want to kill that many off in a month," said winger Chris Kelly. "I've never seen a six-minute penalty. I would have thought (Kaleta) would get two, but we got the six."
Miller was angry after the goal by Donovan, who returned after missing eight games with a knee injury. Miller felt Sabres' arch enemy Jarkko Ruutu should have been given an interference penalty for tripping him up as Donovan fired a bullet that slid inside the post on the glove side to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead. Miller slammed his stick and argued with Fraser, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Earlier, the Senators had a goal by Alfredsson called back when the officials ruled Ruutu had interfered with Miller going to the net. The Senators only had one shot in the first 15 minutes of the first period, but they made the most of it. Fraser was forced to go upstairs after a pass by Bell bounced off the skate of Spezza and past Miller on the glove side at 5:51.
From there, Miller didn't face his second shot until Kelly got one through with five minutes left in the period.
But the Senators should have had more. They had back-to-back power-play opportunities to end the period, but couldn't take advantage of either. The snakebitten Mike Fisher missed a wide-open net with only 30 seconds left in the first. Earlier, Ryan Shannon hit the outside of the net.
Coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Sabres Saturday at home, the Senators flew to Philadelphia immediately after last night's game to face the Flyers tonight. Game time is 7.