Senators' playoff chances dealt blow with loss to Sabres
Ottawa 7 points back in wild-card hunt with 10 games left
The Ottawa Senators are struggling on the road and falling out of playoff contention.
Rookie Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist to lead the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-1 victory over the Senators on Friday night.
It's the third straight road loss for the Senators, who remained seven points behind Detroit for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa had won two in a row at home coming into the game, but has earned just seven points in its last 10 road contests.
"Not good enough," said goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 31 saves. "Bottom line is we didn't get two points and that's what we needed."
Nick Deslauriers and Zach Bogosian also scored for Buffalo, and Chad Johnson made 32 saves.
Alex Chiasson scored for the Senators.
Reinhart and fellow rookie Jack Eichel set up Bogosian for his score that gave the Sabres a two-goal lead midway through the second period. Eichel skated around three defenders and passed to Reinhart at the left edge of the crease. Reinhart sent the puck to Bogosian for a wide-open shot on the other side of the net.
Reinhart and Eichel are the first pair of Sabres rookies with 20-goal seasons since the 1974-75 season, when Danny Gare and Peter McNab accomplished the feat.
"They're going to be a huge part of our team moving forward and we're lucky to have both of them," Bogosian said.
Ottawa's Scott Gomez had a power-play goal overturned early in the third period when replays showed he knocked the puck into the net with his glove. The Senators are 0-for-21 on the power play in the last eight games.
This was a must-win game here and right off the get-go we didn't have enough energy.- Senators forward Alex Chiasson on Friday's 3-1 loss at Buffalo
Buffalo entered with a league-low 37 goals in the opening period, but scored twice in the first 8:17 to take an early lead.
"This was a must-win game here and right off the get-go we didn't have enough energy," Chiasson said.
The Sabres appeared to score within the first two minutes when Zemgus Girgensons was taken down by Ottawa defenceman Dion Phaneuf and the puck went into the net off Phaneuf's stick. The goal was overturned on replay and Phaneuf received a two-minute slashing penalty.
Reinhart put Buffalo ahead 12 seconds into the power play, redirecting the rebound off Rasmus Ristolainen's shot from the point for his 20th goal of the season.
Chiasson scored off a rebound of Mike Hoffman's shot from the slot to tie it at 5:33 of the first.
Deslauriers made it 2-1 less than three minutes later. Ryan O'Reilly sent a cross-crease pass to the left side of the net and Deslauriers beat Anderson with a sliding one-timer.