Final

Series (Game 5 of 6)

Buffalo leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 1st
Sabres1Final
OT
Senators1
Game 2: Monday, November 17th
Sabres2Final
Senators1
Game 3: Tuesday, December 23rd
Senators2Final
OT
Sabres2
Game 4: Friday, January 9th
Senators2Final
Sabres3
Game 5: Saturday, February 28th
Sabres1Final
Senators7
Game 6: Wednesday, March 3rd
Senators3Final
Sabres4

Sabres 1

(28-30-1, 63 pts)

Senators 7

(35-16-5, 84 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 28, 2004

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
BUF 1 0 01
OTT 1 3 37

W. Redden (Senators - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

D. Alfredsson (Senators - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

B. Smolinski (Senators - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

Smolinski leads Ottawa's scoring fest

OTTAWA (AP) -- The Buffalo Sabres have given the Ottawa Senators trouble all season long. For five minutes Saturday night, it looked as if they would do it again.

After Adam Mair gave the Sabres the lead at 4:15 of the first period, the Senators turned up the pressure and scored seven unanswered goals in a 7-1 victory. Bryan Smolinski had a goal and two assists to help Ottawa move into a tie for the points lead in the NHL.

Wade Redden, Daniel Alfredsson, Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara and Peter Bondra added a goal and an assist apiece as the Senators caught the Philadelphia Flyers, who also have an NHL-best 84 points.

"It's good; we'd love to score seven goals every night," Smolinski said after the Senators beat the Sabres for the first time in five attempts this season. "We caught them after they had to play last night."

Chris Neil also scored, Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza each added a pair of assists, and Patrick Lalime made 14 saves for the Senators, who have earned points in 20 straight home games.

"Buffalo's played us tough," Fisher said. "We didn't hold back."

Senators coach Jacques Martin needs one victory to become the 14th to reach 400 wins. He'll try for the milestone when the teams meet again in Buffalo on Wednesday.

Buffalo lost its fourth straight. The Sabres trail the eighth-place New York Islanders by eight points in the race for the final playoff spot in the East.

Mika Noronen stopped 26 shots, but the Sabres fell to 2-1-2 against the Senators this season one night after losing at home to the Islanders.

"We started well, we got the first goal and, after that, they kept coming," Noronen said. "From my point of view, I let in one or two easy goals and we couldn't bounce back."

Sabres defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick left the game in the first period with an apparent knee injury and didn't return. His status wasn't known immediately.

"We were down to five defensemen, and there were some matchups that were in their favor," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said.

Recent free-agent signing Rob Ray made his return to the NHL with Ottawa. The Senators needed toughness, so they added the 35-year-old forward Feb. 15, then assigned him to AHL Binghamton for conditioning.

He replaced flashy Martin Havlat, who served the first of a two-game suspension for high-sticking Philadelphia's Mark Recchi on Thursday.

However, it was Neil who took an early penalty. Just seconds after it expired, Mair deflected Henrik Tallinder's shot from the point past Lalime to make it 1-0.

Noronen had to make several good stops to maintain the lead until Alfredsson tied it in the final minute of the first period.

The Senators then scored three unanswered goals in the second, including two in a 32-second span, as they outshot the Sabres 16-5.

Redden scored while Buffalo's Taylor Pyatt served a four-minute penalty for high-sticking midway through the period. Smolinski and Chara then struck in quick succession.

"The first period was a battle and the usual game when we play Buffalo," Martin said. "After the first, we got some good pressure ... then kind of got going in the second."

Bondra scored his second goal since being acquired from Washington, and Hossa and Neil tallied in the third.

Game notes


Ottawa returned C Serge Payer to Binghamton. ... The Senators have just four home games remaining. ... Ray began the season doing commentary on the radio for Sabres games and working in home repair. ... Since the start of the 2000-01 season, the Senators haven't allowed more than three goals in a game against the Sabres.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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