BUFFALO http://www.redwingsshoponline.com/authenti...y-howard-jersey , N.Y. (AP) Three years after bottoming out, the Buffalo Sabres found a way to achieve a new low.A 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night assured Buffalo of becoming the NHLs first team to finish 31st following this seasons addition of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.Honestly, no. I dont think anyone really envisioned this, certainly not myself being on the outside coming in, said Jason Pominville, the former Sabres captain who rejoined the team last offseason after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota.With the group we had, I still dont believe we should be where were at. But we are there. And things got to change.First-year coach Phil Housley was defiant when asked if he ever second-guessed what he signed up for upon being hired in June after the Sabres cleaned house last spring.I believe in this organization. I believe in our management. I believe were going to turn this thing around, Housley said.And yet the Hall of Fame defenseman had to acknowledge how difficult this season has been.This is just where we are as a group, Housley said. Lets be honest, we have a long way to go.Having already extended their franchise-worst playoff drought to a seventh year, the Sabres clinched last place for the third time in five years they were 30th in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.Their fate this season was sealed in losing their home finale in a matchup of two of the NHLs worst teams.Matt Duchene scored his team-leading 27th goal and the 30th-place Senators upped their total to 67 points, five ahead of the Sabres, who have just two games left.Max McCormick, Ryan Dzingel and Alexandre Burrows, with an empty-netter Jonathan Ericsson Jersey , also scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 32 shots, and Ottawa improved to 2-8 in its past 10.We play for each other, we play for our fans, we play for the crest on the front, Anderson said of the Senators objective to not finish last.And the Senators won with a roster depleted of numerous regulars, including captain Erik Karlsson, who remained in Ottawa to be his wife after the couples first son was stillborn two weeks ago.The Senators scored three straight times after Buffalos Ryan OReilly opened the scoring on a breakaway goal 30 seconds in.McCormick tied the game 2:26 later by tipping in Mark Borowieckis point shot. Duchene scored 3:14 later by blasting in a shot over Chad Johnsons left shoulder after teammate Ben Harpur broke up Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainens clearing attempt at the left boards.Dzingel made it 3-1 at the 3:21 mark of the second period, seconds after a tripping penalty against Buffalos Marco Scandella expired. Dzingel collected a loose puck in the right circle and used Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson as a screen to sneak a shot under Johnsons right arm.Johnson stopped 30 shots and Kyle Okposo also scored for the Sabres in closing Buffalos home record at 11-25-5.The Sabres league-worst 11 home wins matched a franchise low for any year, including the lockout-shortened 48-game 2012-13 season, when Buffalo went 11-10-3. Buffalo also went 11-19-9 during a 78-game season in 1971-72.The Sabres final four home losses came against four of the NHLs five-worst road teams: Arizona, which entered the day 27th, Detroit (28th), Ottawa (30th) and Montreal (31st).I expected a lot more, OReilly said about Buffalos record. But you can expect all you want. It comes down to doing it and getting better. And obviously, we got worse.NOTES: Senators RW Bobby Ryan did not return after sustaining a lower body injury in the first period. He was hurt when teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau fell back into him after being checked by Buffalos Jack Eichel. Sabres C Zemgus Girgensons will miss the final three games with an upper body injury. Senators RW Marian Gaborik missed his seventh consecutive game Womens Justin Abdelkader Jersey , and Boucher said the player is visiting a specialist to determine the severity of a nagging back injury. Corey Syvret made his debut as an NHL referee. Syvret played for OHL London in 2006 when he lost a fight, decisively, to current Sabres forward Jordan Nolan.UP NEXTSenators: Continue season-closing three-game trip Friday night at Pittsburgh.Sabres: Open season-closing two-game trip Friday night at Tampa Bay. ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) Like tourists flocking to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, the Pittsburgh Penguins making a trip to Washington in the playoffs has become a rite of spring.The Penguins and Capitals will face off in the second round for the third consecutive year with the core groups changed only slightly from past battles. Back-to-back Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh still has playoff MVPs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Washington still has stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom trying to make the Eastern Conference final for the first time.We faced each other for a lot of games, and we should know each other right now inside out, Backstrom said. Thats just how it is. Its usually tight series and one-goal games. Were excited about this one.Its hard not to get the Groundhog Day feeling about these teams meeting for the fourth time in the past 10 years. The Penguins won the previous three series despite not having home-ice advantage, twice winning Game 7 in Washington on the way to capturing the Stanley Cup.But this year is different in many ways, most notably on the Pittsburgh injury front. Malkin and winger Carl Hagelin will miss Game 1 on Thursday night in Washington. Coach Mike Sullivan said Malkin will travel, making him a possibility to play in Game 2 this weekend after missing the end of the Philadelphia series with an apparent lower-body injury.I think guys have to step up in different roles maybe, Crosby said. I dont think anybody has to put too much pressure on themselves. Collectively we can find ways and those are guys who arent easy to replace, but thats what were faced with.A year after the last series between these two division rivals, gone from the Penguins are forwards Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen Luke Glendening Jersey , defensemen Trevor Daley, Ian Cole and Ron Hainsey and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Gone from the Capitals are forwards Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Daniel Winnik and defensemen Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk.They have different personnel, we have different personnel, said Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, whos back after missing the 2017 playoffs because of neck surgery. The series is going to play out differently. The game is going to be won differently. You dont know how it is going to go.Pittsburgh, trying for a rare championship threepeat, has won nine of 10 all-time series against Washington, many of which predate current players and coaches. But Capitals coach Barry Trotz said its fitting his team must again go through its nemesis to advance.Asked why this year the outcome will be different, Ovechkin said: I dont know. One day, it have to happen. If we want to get success, we have to beat Pittsburgh and move forward.SID VS. OVICrosby has won 44 of the 70 previous games against Ovechkin in the NHL regular season and playoffs, world junior championships, world championships Martin Frk Jersey , World Cup and Olympics. There may not be another dueling hat tricks game like the one in the 2009 playoffs, but Crosby and Ovechkin are red hot going into their latest showdown. Crosby is tied at 13 points with linemate Jake Guentzel for the scoring lead in the playoffs, and Ovechkins five power-play goals helped Washington beat Columbus in six.This year I think hes playing his best, but its good to see, Backstrom said of Ovechkin. Hopefully everyone can raise our level here in the second round.POWER PLAYERSThe Penguins relied heavily on their top-ranked power play unit to land a 12th straight playoff berth the longest active streak in the NHL but their title bid will rely heavily on a penalty kill thats been uneven at best. Pittsburgh was a middling 17th during the regular season (80 percent) but killed 90.5 percent of Philadelphias power plays in the opening round. Washington scored just once with the man advantage in four regular season meetings with the Penguins, who kept Ovechkin in check.You have to reduce his time, Letang said. You dont want him to have all kinds of time to really use that puck.MURRAYS METTLEPenguins goaltender Matt Murray won the Cup twice as a rookie by NHL standards after backstopping the Penguins to titles in 2016 and 2017. He missed all of Pittsburghs playoff series against Washington, however, while recovering from a lower-body injury. The 23-year-old has been up and down against Washington in his brief career and is coming off a Philadelphia series in which he flip-flopped between great (two shutouts) and not-so great (allowing four-or-more goals twice). Still, Murray has never lost a playoff series hes played in, and even after giving up four quick goals in the first 21 minutes of Game 6 against Philadelphia, he limited the Flyers to just one the rest of the way to give his teammates time to rally.HOLTBY DIALED INCapitals goaltender Braden Holtby allowed six goals on 35 shots through the first two games of the Penguins series last year before getting his game back together. He has only allowed 10 on 137 shots in four-plus games since replacing Philipp Grubauer this time around and looks like a goalie who can match Murray save for save.AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed.