Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller (30) looks on as Ottawa Senators Jason Spezza (19) tries to get control of a flying puck during first period NHL action in Ottawa Tuesday December 20, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
OTTAWA - Kyle Turris considers this a pretty good start.
Turris, the newest member of the Ottawa Senators, setup the winning goal in a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres and thinks life in Ottawa might be pretty good.
"I'll take this over the weather in Phoenix any day," he said with a laugh.
Erik Condra scored the winner and added an empty-net goal, but all eyes were on 22-year-old Turris, who was acquired from the Coyotes on Saturday.
"I thought Kyle was a real good player for us," said Senators coach Paul MacLean. "He did a good job in the faceoff circle. I thought as the game wore on his game progressed. I thought it was a solid game by his line."
Zack Smith and Erik Karlsson also scored for the Senators (16-14-4), while Craig Anderson made 22 saves.
Jordan Leopold had the lone goal for the injury riddled Sabres (16-14-3) and Ryan Miller stopped 36 shots.
On the winning goal Turris fired a shot at Miller, grabbed the rebound and passed it to Condra who scored his fifth of the season.
"It was a great play by Turris," said Condra. "It turned out to be big for us at the time."
Ottawa added a power-play goal with less than two minutes remaining when Alfredsson fed Karlsson all alone to score into a wide open net.
With the win the Senators moved ahead of the Sabres in the Eastern Conference.
"We knew this was a must-win game for us," said Ottawa's Jason Spezza. "We knew they had some injuries and we did a good job capitalizing."
This was a typical Sabres-Senators game with little for the 18,474 on hand to get excited about as the game was tied 1-1 heading into the third.
"I thought the first 40 was a pretty even game," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "We knew we couldn't play run and gun with them, but I thought we created some good opportunities, but didn't take advantage of them."
Ottawa had the better of the chances in the second, but Buffalo made the most of its power play and Leopold was able to beat Anderson with a quick wrist shot to tie the game.
The Senators took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. Chris Neil was stopped on a breakaway, but Smith was there to tap in the rebound. Neil picked up his 100th NHL assist on the play.
Early in the first period the Senators lost forward Jesse Winchester to a concussion after he was hit into the boards by Paul Gaustad.
No penalty was called on the play, but MacLean is hopeful the league will review it as he felt "it warranted a penalty" and "was a real dangerous play."
The night had special meaning for Ottawa's Nick Foligno and younger brother Marcus, a member of the Sabres who was making his NHL debut.
Over 30 family members were in attendance, including father Mike, a former member of the Sabres, and the brothers admitted it was one game that will always be remembered.
"It was a great night," said Nick. "I thought Marcus did pretty well and I was really proud of him. I caught myself watching him a little bit and felt he held his own out there. He didn't look out of place."
The younger Foligno admitted he was disappointed about the loss, but was pretty happy about playing his first game.
"It was exciting that's for sure," said Marcus. "Seeing Nick out there was awesome and I think I lined up against him at least once, which was pretty cool."
Notes: The Senators were without LW Milan Michalek (concussion, day-to-day). D Brian Lee and RW Bobby Butler were a healthy scratch ... The Sabres were without LW Tyler Ennis (ankle, day-to-day), LW Ville Leino (lower-body, indefinite), LW Jochen Hecht (lower-body, day-to-day), C Nathan Gerbe (concussion, indefinite), RW Patrick Kaleta (lower-body, indefinite), RW Brad Boyes (knee, indefinite), D Tyler Myers (wrist, indefinite), LW Colin Stuart (lower body, indefinite). D Marc-Andre Gragnani was a healthy scratch.