From MOP Squad Sports
Senators edge Sabres, lead series 3-0
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
May 14, 2007 - 9:17:26 PM
OTTAWA - Another opportune bounce, a sharp goalie and a stifling defense pushed the Ottawa Senators within a win of their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
Buffalo Sabres' Thomas Vanek (26) tries to get to the puck in front of Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery during the second period of Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference hockey finals Monday, May 14, 2007 in Ottawa. (AP PHOTO/CP, Tom Hanson)
Ray Emery stopped 15 shots to register his third shutout this postseason, and Daniel Alfredsson scored an easy goal in a 1-0 win over the stunned and demoralized Buffalo Sabres in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night.
The Senators improved to an NHL-best 11-2 this postseason, won a franchise playoff best sixth straight game, and lead the best-of-seven series 3-0 with a chance to eliminate the Presidents' Trophy-winning Sabres in Game 4 at home on Wednesday.
The Senators shut down the NHL's most potent offense, including holding Buffalo to five shots in the third period. And Emery was hardly tested, his best save coming with 12 seconds left when he got his left pad out to foil Daniel Briere's shot from the right circle.
The Sabres had little in response, unable to get over squandering a two-goal lead in a 4-3, double-overtime loss in Game 2 on Saturday. Their power-play went 0-for-6 and is 0-for-18 for the series.
Ryan Miller was the Sabres' best player, keeping the team in the game by stopping 31 shots, including 13 in the first period. But it wasn't enough for Buffalo, shut out for the first time since April 2006.
The only puck that got by Miller didn't even begin with a shot on net.
Dany Heatley's one-timer from the right point sailed wide and caromed hard off the end boards directly back at Miller, who was well out of his net. Miller attempted to glove the puck but missed it, inadvertently deflecting it back toward the open goal, with Alfredsson stuffing it in just before it crossed the line.
The Senators keep getting the bounces to go their way after defenseman Joseph Corvo sealed Saturday's win when his overtime shot took a wild bounce and skipped in.
The Sabres' best early scoring chance Monday didn't even produce a shot on net 20 seconds in. That's when Briere was alone down in front and attempted to wrap the puck around Emery, but had the puck roll of the end of his stick.
The score should've been far more lopsided in Ottawa's favor, and the Sabres appeared to play that way, mostly going through the motions.
The Sabres looked befuddled during their opening power play. Rather than going back for the puck, Tim Connolly was busy complaining that the clearing attempt struck an Ottawa player at the Senators bench. The Sabres managed just one shot on the power play, a bad-angle drive by defenseman Teppo Numminen.
The shot was the only one Buffalo managed on its first four power-play chances.
Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell also made a curious miscue, staying on the ice after serving a penalty, giving Buffalo three blue-liners for an extended stretch.
Miller did the rest.
His best series of saves came when he foiled Heatley driving up the right wing. He somehow managed to recover in time to stop Alfredsson's snapper on the rebound.
The Senators squandered a few opportunities, too. Andrej Meszaros broke up the right win on a 2-on-0 break and, with Miller taking away the bottom of the net, snapped a shot off the far post.
Notes:@ Ottawa coach Bryan Murray was unhappy after Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson deserved to be suspended for cross-checking Henrik Tallinder from behind in overtime of Game 2. "What are we going to do about Lindy?" Murray said. "We all complain. ... But we have to let the officials make the calls." ... Tallinder played a regular shift despite being listed as questionable. ... The Senators coaches had the elevator wait for the Buffalo staff at the start of the first intermission, a switch after Sabres coaches didn't do so at Buffalo in Game 2. ... More than 8,500 fans watched the game at Buffalo's home arena.
© Copyright 2007 MOP Squad Sports