The Buffalo Sabres finished off the top-seeded Ottawa Senators with yet another overtime goal.
Jason Pominville scored a short-handed goal 2 minutes 26 seconds into the extra period, Ryan Miller made 34 saves and Buffalo beat Ottawa, 3-2, on Saturday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals against the winner of the Carolina-New Jersey series.
“I think we were the only people who thought we could win the series,” Pominville said. “We proved we are a good team and hopefully we can keep going.”
With Jay McKee in the penalty box for tripping Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson 1:44 into the extra period, Pominville burst down the left side and cut in front of goalie Ray Emery to tuck the puck past the Ottawa rookie and give Buffalo its third overtime winner of the series.
All five games were decided by one goal in the series, which featured a tie score or a one-goal lead for all but 1:40 of total play.
“Every game was tight,” Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff said. “Every game could have gone either way. There wasn’t a lot of relaxation behind the bench, so when that goal went in all that pent-up tension was gone in about 30 seconds.”
Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder scored the first playoff goal of his career 33 seconds in, and co-captain Chris Drury had a power-play goal 7:56 into the second to put Buffalo up, 2-1.
Senators defenseman Brian Pothier scored for the second game in a row on a power play at 13:59 of the second to tie it at 2-2. Alfredsson got his second goal of the playoffs -- his first of the series -- on a five-on-three advantage midway through the first.
Buffalo, which finished fourth in the East, three points behind Ottawa in the Northeast Division, will face No. 2 Carolina or No. 3 New Jersey in its first conference finals since 1999.
The Senators, who finished with 113 points and led the league with 314 goals, finished another disappointing playoffs after building up great expectations with a dominant regular-season performance.
New Jersey 5, Carolina 1 -- Scott Gomez scored twice, and Sergei Brylin’s goal 44 seconds into the second period made it 4-0 as the Devils avoided elimination at East Rutherford, N.J.
The Hurricanes still hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series, which resumes in Raleigh, N.C., today.
John Madden and Jay Pandolfo also scored for New Jersey.
Martin Brodeur, who had his worst postseason loss in Game 1, made 19 saves, his only blemish being Mark Recchi’s goal with 8:56 left in the second. Brodeur moved into sole possession of third place on the NHL career playoff wins list with 89 and played his record 141st consecutive game.