Houser strong in season debut as Sabres beat Senators

AP Photo Buffalo Sabres goaltender Michael Houser stops Ottawa Senators left wing Alex Formenton during the first period Tuesday in Ottawa, Ontario.

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Michael Houser made 43 saves in his season debut and the Buffalo Sabres beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Houser became the sixth goalie to start a game for Buffalo this season. Mark Jankowski, Dylan Cozens and Alex Tuch scored for the Sabres (12-20-7).

Drake Batherson had the lone goal for Ottawa (11-19-2), and Anton Forsberg stopped 30 shots.

Ottawa’s first home game since Dec. 11 was played without fans because of COVID-19 regulations.

The Senators had been looking for a third straight win as they returned from a two-game road trip in Western Canada.

With the game tied at 1, the Sabres scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period on a bizarre sequence.

It all started when Erik Brannstrom ran Kyle Okposo into the boards right between the benches. The hit created a reaction as players from both teams approached, but play went on and Jankowski broke in with teammate Josh Brown trailing and beat Forsberg stick side while most of the other players were caught watching.

Tuch added some insurance for Buffalo with 40 seconds left, putting the puck into an empty net.

Down 1-0 in the second, the Senators tied it with Batherson’s first power-play goal of the season. Batherson took a pass down low and, after his initial shot was stopped, lifted his own rebound over Houser.

Houser got off to a great start with a big save against Alex Formenton on a breakaway and followed that up with a big stop on Tim Stutzle on the rebound.

Buffalo opened the scoring midway through the first period as Cozens got pushed off the puck on the rush but then picked it right back up and let a shot go that beat Forsberg glove side.

NOTES: Filip Gustavsson was recalled from Belleville of the AHL after Ottawa goalie Matt Murray became ill and was unable to dress due to an illness not related to COVID-19. … Vinnie Hinostroza did not travel with the Sabres after getting injured Monday during an overtime loss to Detroit.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today