OTTAWA - If the Buffalo Sabres fail to make the playoffs, they may want to take a long look at their season series with the Ottawa Senators for answers.
Brendan Bell scored twice and Senators took advantage of an undisciplined Sabres team, scoring three goals in nine chances in a 4-2 victory Tuesday.
The Senators won the season series against Buffalo with a 5-1-0-0 record - a bright point in Ottawa's otherwise disappointing season. The Senators (29-30-5-5) are 12th in the Eastern Conference and well back of a playoff spot.
The Sabres (34-28-3-5)have a shot at the post-season, but games like this aren't going to help their chances. Buffalo is 10th in the East with 76 points, two back to ninth-place Florida and three behind Carolina, which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot.
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said he was "embarrassed" by the play of his team.
"We took a lot of tough calls, we took a lot of tough penalties," said Ruff. "It took a lot of guys out of the game after we too six straight in the second period".
"I'm very embarrassed. Embarrassed for our fans, embarrassed for how we played the last forty minutes. It's not acceptable this time of year."
Meanwhile, the Senators dominated play despite going down 2-0 after the first period. They outshot the Sabres 36-13, including 13-1 in the second period.
"I thought we outshot them pretty good in the first period (13-6)," Senators forward Dany Heatley said. "A couple bad breaks, a couple mistakes that they scored on. Other than that I think we played a real solid game, and the shots were a pretty good indication of that.
"It was good all areas. Out power play was good, our PK (penalty kill) was good and our five-on-five was good."
The Sabres opened the scoring at 4:02 of the first period with Toni Lydman blasting a shot from the top of the circle to the left of Senators goaltender Brian Elliot.
Jason Pomminville gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead with their second goal of the game at 16:02. The Sabres ended the first period with two goals on six shots.
Heatley got the Senators on the board with his 33rd goal at the 1:30 of the second period. Ottawa tied it on a power play when Bell put a cross-ice pass from Daniel Alfredsson past Mikael Tellqvist.
It was the only power-play goal the Senators managed over five consecutive power plays.
The Sabres, who spent much of the second in the penalty box, managed just one shot in the period.
The Sabres penalty problems continued into the third when Drew Stafford's elbow to the face of Heatley put the Senators on the power play once again. This time they made it count with Jason Spezza saucering a pass across to Alfredsson who tapped it past a sprawling Tellqvist.
The Buffalo's parade to the penalty box continued, and with Paul Gaustad in the box for high sticking Bell picked up his second power-play goal of the night. Bell scored with scorching blast from just inside the blue-line that beat Tellqvist cleanly to the glove side.
Filip Kuba had three assists for the Senators, giving him 31 on the season.
"Today we had a lot of power plays and we had a lot of opportunities to make good plays," said Kuba. "The puck was just going in for us today."
"The more I play, the more comfortable I am. I'm just glad to have the opportunity to be here."