OTTAWA — Jean-Gabriel Pageau gave Ottawa Senators fans an early Christmas gift with a two-goal effort in a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Brady Tkachuk had a goal and two assists to cap the festivities. Craig Anderson made his first start since suffering a knee injury Dec. 7 and stopped 43 shots.
Zemgus Girgensons scored the lone goal for the Sabres (17-14-7), while Linus Ullmark made 27 saves.
With the game tied 1-1, Pageau scored his second of the night in impressive fashion. He took a drop pass from Connor Brown and broke in on Ullmark, who made the initial save, and then jumped on a Brady Tkachuk rebound and backhanded it in.
Anderson made two great saves to keep the lead, including one on Evan Rodrigues while sprawled on his back. Tkachuk added an empty-net goal to ensure the victory.
Both goalies made a number of big saves in the second period, with Ullmark stopping Tyler Ennis point blank to keep it a one-goal game.
The Sabres were finally able to beat Anderson at 15:12 as Rodrigues made a backhand pass to Girgensons who tipped it over Anderson’s shoulder.
Despite being outshot 14-10 in the first period, it was the Senators (16-18-4) who took a 1-0 lead. Tkachuk sent a great pass to Pageau who beat Ullmark with a one-timer.
Jack Eichel’s attempt at becoming the first player in Sabres history to have a point in 19 consecutive games came to an end. Eichel came into the game with 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) over his last 18 games.
Scott Sabourin will have to wait until after Christmas to make his return as he was forced to miss tonight’s game with the flu. Sabourin has not played since Nov. 2 when he suffered a concussion after colliding with Boston’s David Backes. Buffalo was without Kyle Okposo due to illness.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2019.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press