A Drury start for Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

Sabres 7, Senators (OT) 6, Buffalo leads series 1-0

The Red Zone turned into a red-light district last night at Scotiabank Place.

And Ray Emery was simply red-faced.

The Senators goaltender had every right to be embarrassed after the club dropped an ugly 7-6 OT loss to the Sabres in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-final.

Buffalo's Chris Drury ended a wild night for the 19,544 on hand, scoring the winner only 18 seconds into overtime as Emery gave up seven goals on just 23 shots.

"I'm embarrassed. I've got to make the saves," said Emery. "I'm pissed off and I feel bad. But I'm going to learn from that experience and I'm going to go forward. A loss like that is really tough for me to take."

BLEW LEAD ... FIVE TIMES

Actually, it was sickening. The Senators held the lead five times -- including a 6-5 advantage with only 1:13 remaining in the third period after Bryan Smolinski scored -- but the club couldn't hold onto it.

Asked what he would say to Emery, Senators coach Bryan Murray decided to bite his tongue until a meeting with the team today.

"Nothing ... I won't say anything," said Murray. "Sure, I can be mad and I can go in my office and slam the door, but I've always felt you have to wait until the next day before you say anything.

"Ray Emery had a tough night. But Ray Emery needed a lot of help from some of his teammates and he didn't get it. We were sloppy and I don't think there was ever a point where we were in control of that game."

Watching Game 1 was enough to leave people begging for the return of Dominik Hasek from his adductor muscle injury.

While Emery didn't look good after defenceman Anton Volchenkov coughed up the puck on the OT winner, it was the puck Emery couldn't handle on a rebound in front that allowed Tim Connolly to tie the game 6-6 with 11 seconds left in regulation that was particularly alarming.

Regardless, the Senators stood behind their shell-shocked netminder.

"I don't think you can blame Ray Emery," said captain Daniel Alfredsson.

"We made a lot of bad mistakes after making a lot of good plays to score goals and we just let it get away from us. It's frustrating.

"It seemed like every time we made something good happen, we shot ourselves in the foot. We just gave them too many good chances. We've got to get back to playing the kind of hockey we're capable of playing. We can't be allowing chances like that."

Despite a three-point effort from Wade Redden, along with two-point nights from Alfredsson, Martin Havlat, Dany Heatley and Smolinski, the Senators were awful as a group. Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher also scored for the Senators.

When Smolinski gave the Senators a 6-5 lead, it looked like they were going to pull off the victory. But, even with Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller looking brutal as well, no lead was safe.

"No, I didn't think (the Senators were in control when he scored)," said Smolinski. "There was still time left and it was just that kind of game. It was ugly and I don't think we'll see another game like that again."

Rockland's Derek Roy led theBuffalo attack with a five-point night.

"We kind of talked about the fact that this one was going to be over pretty quickly," said Drury.

The Senators will find out today if centre Chris Kelly will be okay for Game 2 on Monday. He took a puck below the eye and left with blurry vision in the third period.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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