Sabres hand Senators fifth straight loss

Tage Thompson scored twice in a 2:04 stretch of the first period, and the host Buffalo Sabres won 5-3 over the reeling Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. JJ Peterka and Peyton Krebs also scored, Dylan Cozens added an assist and an empty-netter and Rasmus Dahlin had two assists for the Sabres, who are 8-6-2 since Dec. 7. Thompson, held without a shot during the Sabres’ 5-2 loss versus Seattle on Tuesday, gave Buffalo a needed cushion with his 13th and 14th goals of the season in the opening frame.

However, Thompson was hit with a high stick late in the contest and played sparingly in the final minutes.

Buffalo led 4-1 after two periods, but some poor own-zone defense allowed the Senators back in the game. Just 43 seconds into the third, Claude Giroux converted a backhander off Jack Quinn’s turnover in front of Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (25 saves).

Then with 8:45 remaining in regulation, Giroux made it a one-goal contest by converting off another Buffalo turnover. However, the Senators failed to tie the score and have begun the new year by being swept on a five-game trip.

Buffalo opened the scoring 9:14 into the game. Off some nifty passing — beginning with Owen Power, then to Cozens — Peterka drilled the puck past Ottawa’s Anton Forsberg.

Ottawa answered with 4:54 remaining in the opening period when Vladimir Tarasenko’s blast from the point made its way past Luukkonen for his 600th NHL point.

Shortly after, Forsberg injured his groin on a save attempt. With 3:44 to go in the first, he was lifted for Joonas Korpisalo (21 saves). Thompson scored his first goal of the game at 17:28 of the first.

Then on the power play, with 27.9 seconds remaining in the first, Thompson took a pass from Rasmus Dahlin, skated to high circle and sent another shot by Korpisalo for his third multi-goal game of the season.

The Sabres extended their advantage when Krebs converted off a back-and-forth sequence with Eric Robinson at 4:52 into the second period. Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner, who is second on the team with 33 points, was unavailable due to an upper-body injury.