OTTAWA - Another opportune bounce, a sharp goalie, and a stifling defense pushed the Ottawa Senators within a win of their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
Ray Emery stopped 15 shots to register his third shutout this postseason, and Daniel Alfredsson scored an easy goal in a 1-0 win over the stunned and demoralized Buffalo Sabres in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals last night.
The Senators improved to an NHL-best 11-2 this postseason, won a franchise playoff-best sixth straight game, and lead the best-of-seven series, three games to none, with a chance to eliminate the Presidents' Trophy-winning Sabres in Game 4 at home tomorrow.
The Senators shut down the NHL's most potent offense, including holding Buffalo to five shots in the third period. And Emery was hardly tested, his best save coming with 12 seconds left when he got his left pad out to foil Daniel Briere's shot from the right circle.
The Sabres had little in response, unable to get over squandering a two-goal lead in a 4-3, double-overtime loss in Game 2 on Saturday. Their power-play went 0 for 6 and is 0 for 18 for the series.
Ryan Miller was the Sabres' best player, keeping the team in the game by stopping 31 shots, including 13 in the first period.
The only one that got by him didn't even begin with a shot on net.
Dany Heatley's one-timer from the right point sailed wide and caromed hard off the end boards directly back at Miller, who was well out of his net. Miller attempted to glove the puck but missed it, inadvertently deflecting it back toward the open goal, with Alfredsson stuffing it in just before it crossed the line.