Always quick with a quip former Buffalo broadcaster Harry Neale had some kind words for his old friend Rick Wamsley in the elevator during the second intermission at First Niagara Center Friday night.

"Obviously" Neale said with a smile "you've coached both those goalies."

Wamsley of course is just the mentor of Senators puck stoppers not those in Buffalo colours. But while he had a chuckle at Neale's remark smiling somewhere else had to be Dan Bylsma.

The coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins will also be the bench boss of the U.S. team at the Olympics in Sochi. And he had to be more than happy with the performances put on by Americans Craig Anderson of the Senators and Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres.

The two candidates for the national squad engaged in a brilliant dual before Erik Karlsson one-timed a pass from Clarke MacArthur through Miller's legs with 95 seconds left in the game to give the Senators a 1-0 victory in their season opener.

"I was thinking we were headed for a 20-man shootout" MacArthur said.

Anderson wound up making 35 stops for the shutout while Miller blocked 45 attempts.

While Anderson had a brilliant effort he was passing on the praise to Karlsson.

"Karl is our superstar" Anderson said. "We love him. You know what you're going to get every night."

The way Miller was playing Anderson knew he couldn't make a mistake.

"When you watch the other guy at the other end make big save after big save it just kind of gives you a little fire under your butt to return the favour" Anderson said. "It's one of those battles you enjoy to be in.

"In baseball (pitchers) need run support. In hockey goalies need goal support. Your job as a pitcher or goalie is just to make sure your team is in there at the end."

The Senators power play was 0-for-3 on the night blowing a couple of opportunities before the game was six minutes old.

The Sabres who were 0-for-7 with the man-advantage in their opener against Detroit failed to take advantage of four chances against the Senators.

Karlsson showed Norris Trophy form with some big defensive plays including a dive to knock the puck off Thomas Vanek's stick during a breakaway early in the third period.