OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Tyler Ennis had a hat trick to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
Drake Batherson and Alex Formenton also scored for Ottawa, while Matt Murray made 32 saves for his third win of the season and 14th career shutout.
The win came at a cost: Late in the first period, Batherson chased a puck and Sabres goalie Aaron Dell shoved him hard into the boards feet-first. Batherson struggled to put weight on his left leg and needed assistance down the tunnel. He didn’t return.
“It’s a bad play by the goalie,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “He’s done it before, we’ve seen all the replays. Any other player in the game that does that, you’d have to go out there and face the music I guess. Certainly, the league will look at whatever, but it’s a bad play … and it’s an unfortunate thing that a young kid’s not going to be able to go to an All-Star game. It’s dangerous.”
Dell, who faced 47 shots, had a different version of the events.
“I was just trying to buy some time for my defenseman and step into (Batherson’s) lane,” said Dell. “I hope he’s all right. I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody.”
Batherson’s injury overshadowed a solid outing by veteran Ennis, who didn’t dress for two games last week on the road and took advantage of his opportunity.
“Sometimes you just need to refresh mentally, a reset,” Smith said. “It’s like you’re starting the year over. … He sits a couple out, gets away from it a little bit and comes back and here he is and now all of a sudden he looks like, you know, he’s 20 years old again and he’s making all these plays. So that’s how finicky the mind is and how confidence comes and goes.”
This was the first of a four-game homestand for the Senators, who continue to play without fans. It was also the second straight home game against Buffalo without fans, as the two met up a week ago with the Sabres winning 3-1.
Dell gave up three first-period goals, and Formenton made it 4-0 midway through the second. Tim Stutzle drew Dell out of his net and made a toe-drag pass to Formenton, who had a wide-open net for his eighth of the season.
Sabres head coach Don Granato thought his team had a solid start to the first, but little after that.
“You sit here after the fact and you say, ’Yeah, it could’ve been the other way after the first 10 minutes,’” Granato said. “But the way we did not respond after that is an indicator, to me, that we didn’t have a strong enough foundation going into the game.
“So, there is no feeling good about anything. We had very little response, the way we wanted, after we fell behind.”
Ottawa’s Dylan Gambrel also suffered an upper body injury in the first period and is expected to miss close to a week. … Ottawa D Erik Brannstrom entered COVID-19 protocol Tuesday and as a result Lassi Thomson was recalled from AHL Belleville. … Casey Mittelstadt and Zemgus Girgensons returned to the Sabres lineup Tuesday.
Sabres: At Arizona on Saturday.
Senators: Host Carolina on Thursday.
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