Andy Postgame Interview:
Ryan, Anderson help Senators handle Sabres
Sean Farrell – NHL.com Correspondent
Ryan scored his team-leading 15th goal and assisted on Zack Smith‘s fifth to lead Ottawa to a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Anderson stopped 40 of 41 shots, and Turris had two assists for the Senators, who remained undefeated in regulation in four games (2-0-2), including a 2-1 shootout loss at Buffalo on Tuesday.
“It’s always fun and you feel good when you win,” said Anderson, who faced five shots over the final two minutes of the third after denying Drew Stafford on a partial breakaway earlier in the period. “It’s a bonus that we were able to do it in a 2-1 fashion.
“We put on the work boots. We didn’t know how many we were going to get tonight, but we were hard to play against, so it’s a satisfying reward for us to win 2-1, and it’s a credit to the guys in front of me, a credit to the hard work we’ve been putting in in practice and the way we battle. Everything kind of lined up tonight and we played together as a group.”
Tyler Ennis tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal in the first period for the Sabres, who fell to 0-20-0 when trailing after two. Ryan Miller made 30 saves.
Ryan redirected Turris’ centering pass into an open net at 9:22 of the first period to put Ottawa up 1-0.
Ennis tied it at 17:39. He came out from behind the net and beat Anderson between the legs for his seventh goal, third in his past four games.
“They gave me a lot of time to walk it and take it in front and just try to throw it in, and I got a good bounce,” Ennis said.
Smith restored the Senators’ lead at 6:39 of the second when he beat Miller on a rebound of Turris’ shot from the left corner.
Buffalo has allowed the first goal in 27 of 32 games. The Sabres have been outscored 36-7 in the first period.
“Drew goes in on that breakaway and if he puts that in, we tie it up, so you never know, but overall the effort was there,” Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said.
Ceci made his NHL debut and led the Senators with 7:22 of ice time in the first period. The 6-foot-3, 209-pound defenseman finished with 20:40 and was among the penalty killers in the final minutes after Milan Michalek was sent off for holding at 17:57 of the third.
“That meant a lot for them to do that, to put the game in my hands, I guess, and to have me out there,” Ceci said. “And for them to trust me like that, I guess it’s a big thing that we didn’t let them score.”
Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen served the first game of his two-game suspension for his hit to the head of Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday.
Girgensons had a three-game point streak end Thursday. He had a goal Tuesday, remained in that game after the hit by Cowen, and scored on Robin Lehner in the 10th round of a shootout to give the Sabres the win.
Thursday, the Buffalo put the puck in the net first at 2:10, but that apparent goal was immediately waved off because left wing John Scott was called for goaltender interference.
Shortly before Ennis tied it, Anderson stuck out his right pad to deny Steve Ott’s shot on a breakaway at 17:01. The goalie made another right-pad save on Luke Adam’s scoring chance early in the second, moments after he gloved a shot from the slot by Ennis.
“I think Anderson played well,” Ennis said. “Scoring goals are hard. The good thing is we were getting chances. If we weren’t getting chances, that would be disappointing. Earlier on in the year we weren’t getting anything going, we weren’t scoring.
“Right now, we’re getting a lot of chances, getting a lot of chances recently and they’re not going in. So, you know, it’s odds. When you keep putting the puck at the net and you get good chances, they’re going to go. Maybe next game we get five or six.”
Senators defenseman Joe Corvo played his 700th NHL game.
Ceci, who was a first-round pick (No. 15) in the 2012 NHL Draft, was recalled from Binghamton of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis Thursday after defenseman Marc Methot came down with the flu.
The 19-year-old Ottawa native is the seventh defenseman to play for the Senators as a teenager. Ceci, who turns 20 on Dec. 21, joined Chris Phillips and Erik Karlsson, who were in the lineup Thursday, and Cowen, as well as Radek Hamr, Stan Neckar, Wade Redden and Andrej Meszaros.
“He did all he could,” Smith said of Ceci. “He was pretty effective, to say the least. From the first shift, he was jumping into the rush and it looked like he always wanted the puck, and he stripped the puck off guys a few times. It’s good to see. Camp’s so big, you don’t get a lot of time to look at a guy, but it was pretty impressive tonight the way he played.”
Ceci’s mother, Karen Sylvester-Ceci, posted a couple of pictures on her Twitter account of Ceci in Ottawa jerseys as a child. One, which was sent with the message, “It’s your turn now @Cecer_83. Dreams really do come true!”, was a shot of Ceci dressed in a No. 03 Senators uniform at the age of 9, standing on the ice beside former Ottawa center Mike Fisher.
“I never thought that would happen,” Ceci said about making his Senators debut. “I was in the skills competition here a long time ago, and I thought that was the coolest thing, and then to be playing with some of the guys that were in that skills competition, it’s pretty crazy to think about that.”
Ottawa continues its three-game homestand Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings before facing the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
“We’ve got to keep finding a way to win games,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said. “We have home games here against some difficult opponents, but I still think the most difficult opponent we have is ourselves.”