Senators
Sabres
3 - 2 Final - OT
  for this game

Captain Alfredsson carries Senators to Stanley Cup Finals

May 20, 2007 - 12:42 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Daniel Alfredsson wears a C on his jersey for good reason.

Alfredsson scored at 9:32 of overtime, sending the Ottawa Senators to their first Stanley Cup Finals with a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

The tally completed a the five-game Eastern Conference finals triumph for the fourth-seeded Senators, who finished eight points behind the Presidents' Trophy-winning Sabres in the Northeast Division this season. Ottawa, which entered the NHL in 1992-93, will begin the Finals on the road against either the Detroit Red Wings or Anaheim Ducks.

"We've grown together, we've lost together and now we're getting a chance to win together," Senators center Jason Spezza said. "I think that by having the same core the last couple of years, it really gives us an opportunity to get to know each other. It's a great feeling, everybody is playing for each other."

"We believe in each other, no question," Alfredsson added. "We feel we can go out and win any game. We respect our opponents. ... We're going to have our hands full (in the Finals). It's nice to finish this in five, regroup here and get some rest and get ready."

After Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made a spectacular stick save on Spezza 3 1/2 minutes into overtime, Alfredsson clinched the Senators' chance to play for the Stanley Cup just over six minutes later.

Dany Heatley, who had a goal and two assists to raise his playoff-leading points total to 21, fed Alfredsson in the neutral zone, sending the captain in alone against three defenders. With defenseman Brian Campbell directly in front of him, Alfredsson wristed a shot that beat Miller low to the glove side, igniting a raucous celebration in the left corner.

"I came through the middle, (Heatley) gave it to me," Alfredsson said. "I looked up and I think I was 1-on-3, but none of them really checked me. I was able to skate in. Someone tried to poke-check me, I almost lost the puck. I was able to get it back and get a quick shot off."

"He's been a star the whole way," Senators coach Bryan Murray said of Alfredsson. "For him to get the game-winner is real justice in the way he worked and played. He's been the example, the workhorse."

With the win, Ottawa improved to 7-1 on the road this postseason.

"We don't put any extra emphasis on winning on the road," Alfredsson said. "We try to win every game we play. ... We've been really good on the road, and that's allowed us to win some series in five games."

The Sabres got off to a frenetic start, applying an abundance of pressure on the Senators in the opening period. But goaltender Ray Emery stood his ground, denying good opportunities by Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy in the latter half of the session to keep the game scoreless.

Buffalo's hard work paid off 4 1/2 minutes into the second as Jochen Hecht netted his fourth goal of the postseason to open the scoring.

Behind his own net, Emery attempted to clear the puck up the right wing boards. But it was intercepted by Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere, who completed a pass to Jason Pominville in the slot.

Pominville's shot never made it to the net, instead making its way to Spezza, who kicked away the puck. But it went directly to Hecht, who backhanded it past Emery for a 1-0 edge.

Known for his ability to score clutch goals in the playoffs, Buffalo co-captain Chris Drury prevented a tally less than three minutes later, blocking Heatley's shot toward a wide-open right side of the net at 7:13. However, the veteran was unable to keep the 50-goal scorer from knotting the contest with less than five minutes remaining in the middle period.

From the left point, defenseman Wade Redden unleashed a slap shot that hit Spezza in front. The center gathered the puck and dished to Heatley, who tapped it in from near the right goalpost at 15:41 for his first goal of the series and sixth this postseason.

"Five games seem to be my limit," said Heatley, who snapped a five-game drought. "It has been a couple times this year, and I got a bounce tonight."

Spezza gave Ottawa the lead in the final minute, converting a pass by Alfredsson from below the right faceoff circle during a 2-on-1 rush for his seventh tally of the playoffs. The goal accounted for Spezza's postseason-record sixth consecutive multi-point performance on the road, eclipsing Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky's mark set in 1988.

Ottawa's top line of Spezza, Alfredsson and Heatley accounted for all three of the team's goals.

"When they put the three of us together, we know we're expected to score goals," Spezza said. "We felt like we had chances the other night, and that's the most important thing. If we're getting chances, we feel like we're going to put the puck in the net. We're the offensive guys and we do have to score goals."

The Senators, who held the Sabres to just one goal on 22 power-play opportunities over the first four games of the series, had their penchant for taking penalties catch up with them in the third period. With Anton Volchenkov already in the box, fellow defenseman Christoph Schubert was called for slashing, giving Buffalo a 5-on-3 for 90 seconds.

The Sabres did not cash in during the two-man advantage but pulled even just three seconds after Volchenkov's tripping infraction expired. Briere's shot off a rebound from the top of the crease hit the right post, but Maxim Afinogenov was there alone to tap in the puck at 10:58, forging a 2-2 tie.

It was the fifth goal this postseason by Afinogenov, who netted the game-winner in overtime of Game Five of the conference semifinals against the New York Rangers, giving Buffalo a 3-2 series lead.

Just seconds into the 5-on-3, Drury was hit in the face by teammate Tim Connolly's slap shot from above the right circle. Play was stopped as droplets of blood trickled onto the ice, and Drury retreated to the locker room but returned in overtime with added protection.

"I did see (the shot coming), but I couldn't move," Drury said. "I don't know if it was going in the net or on net or where, but I just didn't have time. ... Eight (stitches) on the outside (of my mouth), three on the inside. I didn't take X-rays because I've got to go to a dentist for that."

Afinogenov's tally was just the second in the first 27 power-play chances of the series for Buffalo, which failed to convert during Ottawa blue-liner Chris Phillips' roughing penalty or Mike Comrie's delay-of-game infraction later in the third.

"I don't think it should have been that lopsided," Emery said. "We battled hard and I thought we did a good job to force overtime because it's really tough with a team like that, especially to kill the 5-on-3 for (90 seconds)."

"We frustrated them defensively," Ottawa's Mike Fisher said. "Our defense really moved their feet. We gave their top guys trouble. We were doing whatever it takes."

The Senators were outshot, 11-3, in the session.

Briere had two assists and Miller finished with 22 saves for Buffalo, which lost all three home games in the series.

"It's disappointing. It's painful," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It was a fun year. It was hard to lose those two overtime games here in our building."






  • jtlynchjr Also, too bad for my Sabres, but that's why you have to scrap for the whole series, not just once you get your backs up. We played that way last year, but not enough this year.

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 6:12 PM
  • jtlynchjr The cutover to horse racing was embarrassing. They didn't even say anything or do a crawl on my NBC affilliate; it didn't occur to me to switch over until the intermission was almost up and I called my brother in Buffalo to ask whether he was getting horse racing. (He wasn't.)

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 6:09 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL IN OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 2 0 1 3
    BUFFALO 0 1 1 0 2 FINAL IN OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: 2ND PRD: BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 4 (JASON POMINVILLE, DANIEL BRIERE) 4:30
    OTT - DANY HEATLEY 6 (JASON SPEZZA, WADE REDDEN) 15:41
    OTT - JASON SPEZZA 7 (DANIEL ALF

    May 19 5:16 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 3
    BUFFALO 2
    OT: OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 10 (DANY HEATLEY, ANDREJ MESZAROS)
    9:32

    May 19 5:16 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 3
    BUFFALO 2
    OT: OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 10 (DANY HEATLEY, ANDREJ MESZAROS)
    9:32

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 5:16 PM
  • chairmanlau great. i'd much rather watch old white people talk about horses.

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 5:09 PM
  • mark just ridiculous. they'll spend two hours yapping and doing candlelight vigils for barbaro. if you want to see the game, you need to flip to VERSUS.

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 5:07 PM
  • bones seriously, wtf? Overtime playoff game vs. _pre_ race coverage?!

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 5:03 PM
  • 105
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Overtime)

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 5:03 PM
  • mark NOOOO! They're switching to Horse Racing!

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 4:46 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 2 0 2
    BUFFALO 0 1 1 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 4 (JASON POMINVILLE, DANIEL BRIERE) 4:30
    OTT - DANY HEATLEY 6 (JASON SPEZZA, WADE REDDEN) 15:41
    OTT - JASON SPEZZA 7 (DANIEL ALFREDSSON, DANY HEATLEY) 19:21
    3

    May 19 4:42 PM
  • 70
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 65 roots (Close Finish)

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 4:36 PM
  • mark the sabres HAVE to score on this 5 on 3.

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 4:27 PM
  • 5
    roots
    mark Added 5 roots

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 4:26 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 2
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: BUF - (PP) MAXIM AFINOGENOV 5 (DANIEL BRIERE, THOMAS VANEK)
    10:58

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 4:26 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 2 2
    BUFFALO 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 4 (JASON POMINVILLE, DANIEL BRIERE) 4:30
    OTT - DANY HEATLEY 6 (JASON SPEZZA, WADE REDDEN) 15:41
    OTT - JASON SPEZZA 7 (DANIEL ALFREDSSON, DANY HEATLEY) 19:21
    SHO

    May 19 3:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 2
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 7 (DANIEL ALFREDSSON, DANY HEATLEY) 19:21

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 3:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 1
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - DANY HEATLEY 6 (JASON SPEZZA, WADE REDDEN) 15:41

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 3:38 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 0
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - JOCHEN HECHT 4 (JASON POMINVILLE, DANIEL BRIERE) 4:30

    Senators vs. SabresMay 19 3:14 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 0
    BUFFALO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTT 7 7
    BUF 7 7
    GOALIES: OTT - RAY EMERY
    BUF - RYAN MILLER

    May 19 2:49 PM