In their first matchup since Feb. 18, 2020, the Buffalo Sabres upended the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre by a final score of 3-1. Michael Houser was a human wall for Buffalo, as he stopped 43 of 44 shots in his season debut.
The Sabres snagged the early lead in this affair. With 12:07 gone in the opening period of play, Dylan Cozens let a shot go along the ice that slipped through the five-hole of Senators goalie Anton Forsberg.
It was Cozens' ninth goal of the season.
In the second period, Ottawa was finally able to solve Michael Houser after 21 fruitless shot attempts. It was forward Drake Batherson cashing in a second-chance effort on a Senators power play. Batherson's initial shot attempt was stopped, but he was able to grab his own rebound and lift it up above Houser to tie the game at 1-1.
The Sabres took the lead on an incredibly wild goal in the final period of regulation. While a whole slew of skaters crowded around the benches as they assessed a hit on Kyle Okposo, Mark Jankowski noticed a whistle never blew. He outworked defenseman Josh Brown to steal the puck, cut in on a breakaway, and slide the puck past the outstretched leg of Forsberg.
With the Sabres still nursing that 2-1 lead in the waning minutes of the game, Ottawa pulled Forsberg in a last-ditch effort to tie the score.
Houser and the Sabres stood their ground, though, and were able to cash in on the gaping net mouth courtesy of Alex Tuch. His second goal with the Sabres capped off the 3-1 final.
BUF: 12:07 - Dylan Cozens (9) (Alex Tuch, Will Butcher)
OTT: 7:44 - Drake Batherson (11) PPG (Tim Stützle, Thomas Chabot)
BUF: 10:03 - Mark Jankowski (2) (Unassisted); 19:20 - Alex Tuch (2) ENG (Dylan Cozens, Jeff Skinner)
BUF: 14:21 - John Hayden (Instigator - 2 min; Fighting - 5 min.; 10-minute misconduct); 18:13 - Rasmus Dahlin (Slashing - 2 min.)
OTT: 14:21 - Brady Tkachuk (Fighting - 5 min.); 17:27 - Austin Watson (Interference - 2 min.)
BUF: 6:33 - Kyle Okposo (Hooking - 2 min.); 9:14 - Mark Jankowski (Tripping - 2 min.)
OTT: 2:35 - Tim Stützle (Tripping - 2 min.)
BUF: 16:44 - Peyton Krebs (Hooking - 2 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Michael Houser - BUF
2.) Thomas Chabot - OTT
3.) Alex Tuch - BUF
The Sabres return home to Buffalo to host the Dallas Stars on Thursday night at KeyBank Center. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. EST with pregame coverage on WGR starting at 6 p.m. EST with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog on the radio home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.