Sabres sweep Senators

Archived from 1998-99 season.

1999 Playoffs

Ottawa series



Vaclav Varada had two goals and an assist as the Buffalo Sabres completed a stunning sweep of the Ottawa Senators with a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

"Nobody expected us to win, 4-0," Dominik Hasek said. "We had a couple of tough games, it was a tough series. We are a little bit better. It's great to be up every game. Once the other team falls behind us, it was much easier us."

Second-seeded Senators wwere clearly the favorites against the Sabres, who failed to beat Ottawa in five tries during the regular season, four of which ended in ties. Seventh-seeded Buffalo finished off its second straight first-round upset after toppling third-seeded Philadelphia last season.

"We don't just say it for the sake of hearing ourselves when we say we have an opportunity to go all the way," said Sabres captain Michael Peca.

Dominik Hasek was again the biggest factor in Buffalo's triumph. Dominator allowed only three goals in the first three games of the series before surrendering three in Game 4. Hasek allowed six goals on 162 shots in the series.

Another key in the series was disappearence of Alexei Yashin, who was the second leading goal-scorer in the regular season, but finished the series with no goals or assists.

"I think that's what was missing in the second half of the year, that supporting cast we talked about stepping up and playing the hero role in different games. And tonight we got it," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We got Varada, he played one heck of a game. I don't think you can say enough about the (Michael) Peca, (Dixon) Ward, Varada line. The Peca-Yashin matchup, you know Peca obviously dominated."

Getting swept out of the playoffs in the first round is a huge disappointement for Senators, who last year upset New Jersey in the opening round.

"It's sad to have lost, but we saw our team grow," said Ottawa coach Jacques Martin. "It's often a step that's required when you look back at a lot of elite teams that have gone on to win championships. At the same time, you need to give credit to the opposition. The Buffalo Sabres had 91 points this year and were ahead of us at the halfway point. They're a good hockey club."

"Everybody has to face adversity," said Yashin, shut down by Peca throughout the series. "The best thing I can do now is remember I gave the best for my team."

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