Ruutu Wreaks Havoc in Buffalo Crease, Ottawa Senators Beat Buffalo Sabres

Dino MoriAnalyst IFebruary 11, 2009

Solid penalty killing and a propensity to crash the net were two key factors in Ottawa's 3-1 road victory against Buffalo on Wednesday.

The Senators killed off 11 of 12 powerplay tries by the Sabres, allowing just a single goal by Ales Kotalik during a 5-on-3 disadvantage early in the third period.

Besides that, it was yeoman's work put forth by the Ottawa PK, frustrating the Sabres to record its seventh win away from home on the season.

Jason Spezza, Shean Donovan, and captain Daniel Alfredsson scored for Ottawa, who made life miserable for Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.

It was clearly evident on this night that crashing the net at every opportunity was part of the game plan of rookie NHL coach Cory Clouston, who is now 2-1-1 since taking over from the fired Craig Hartsburg.

Clouston's main agitator, forward Jarko Ruutu was a thorn in Miller's side throughout the game.  The 200-lb, Finnish forward crashed, crowded and fell on Miller numerous times, and was given a two-minute minor for goaltender interference penalty six minutes into the second period nullifying a wraparound goal by teammate Chris Kelly.

Senator wingers Nick Foligno and Alfredsson were also assessed interference minors for bumping Miller.

The Sabres were missing leading scorer Tomas Vanek, who will out the Buffalo starting lineup for about a month recovering from a broken jaw suffered against the Senators last Saturday in Ottawa.  Prior to his injury, Vanek had registered 32 goals on the year, including 15 on the powerplay.

His absence was greatly missed especially with the inordinate amount of man-advantage time awarded to the Sabres.  Add to the fact that some of the team's other snipers have been firing blanks of late. Like forward Jason Pominville, goalless in his past 17 games, as well as, Derek Roy no markers in seven.

Brian Elliot made 31 saves in the victory for Ottawa, while Miller stopped 20 in a losing effort.

Ottawa heads to Philadelphia for a Thursday meeting with the Flyers.  Buffalo, meanwhile, welcomes the Western Conference leading San Jose Sharks to the HSBC Arena on Friday.