The Buffalo Sabres celebrated Jason Pominville's 1,000th NHL game with a pregame ceremony Saturday.
The good feelings never stopped once the game began.
Pominville and Jeff Skinner scored two goals apiece as the Sabres exploded for their biggest offensive show in KeyBank Center in more than 10 years and pounded the Ottawa Senators, 9-2.
The Sabres' top line dominated the Senators and got Buffalo (7-5-2) a split of the teams' home-and-home series.
Pominville and Skinner each had two goals and an assist in the game. Jack Eichel had three assists. Five other Sabres had two-point games.
Fifteen Sabres had at least one point in the game as Buffalo outshot Ottawa, 41-29 — including 21-9 during a four-goal second period. Linus Ullmark had an easy outing in net, making 27 saves to win his home debut for this season and improve to 3-0-1.
It was the most goals the Sabres have scored downtown since a 10-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Jan. 18, 2008. It was their first nine-goal outing since a 10-2 win at Edmonton on Jan. 27, 2009.
The one bit of concerning news: Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin left midway through the second period after taking a Matt Duchene shot to the ankle. The NHL's No. 1 overall pick did not return. Coach Phil Housley said after the game that he was still awaiting a report from trainers on Dahlin. Asked if the 18-year-old was taking Saturday's flight to New York in advance of Sunday's game against the Rangers, Housley simply said, "I believe so."
Pommer and Circumstance: Pominville got a standing ovation during the pregame festivities, which opened with a tribute video. His parents, wife and two children joined him on the ice. Owners Terry and Kim Pegula presented him with a silver saber and teammates Jack Eichel, Zach Bogosian and Kyle Okposo presided as Pominville was presented with framed photographs and a painting to mark the occasion.
As we celebrate Jason Pominville's 1,000 @NHL games, the memories over the years come rushing back.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 3, 2018
Re-creation: Terry Pegula said a few words to Pominville and told the crowd he was going to recreate the 2001 draft, announcing the Sabres were taking Pominville with the 55th pick. Pominville is third in scoring in players taken in 2001, behind only Nos. 1-2 Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza.
Go to the video: The Sabres played Pominville tributes from former and current teammates throughout the game. The list of ex-Sabres saluting No. 29 included current General Manager Jason Botterill, Ryan Miller, Daniel Briere, Tyler Ennis, Andrew Peters, Martin Biron, Jay McKee, Nathan Paetsch, Chris Taylor, Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford, Brian Campbell, Mike Grier, Thomas Vanek and Craig Rivet. Former Coach Lindy Ruff also provided a message.
— Harry Scull Jr (@hsjrphoto) November 3, 2018
Picking up where they left off: The Sabres outshot Ottawa, 23-7, in the third period Thursday in Canadian Tire Centre. They got eight of the first nine shots Saturday and were never headed.
The first two goals: Kyle Okposo's slapshot from the right circle opened the scoring at 5:04. Skinner made it 2-0 at 6:28, tapping home a loose puck in the crease after an Eichel shot leaked through goalie Craig Anderson.
Population goes up by one: Pominville got his seventh of the season at 14:25 — playing the puck off his face right to his stick and tapping it home.
How about Pominville playing the puck off his face right to the stick? https://t.co/m7vqlmTc3L
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) November 3, 2018
Back-to-back: The Senators pulled Anderson after the Pominville goal but backup Mike McKenna fared no better. He gave up Skinner's second of the game at 5:06 of the second and Zemgus Girgensons' first of the season just 13 seconds later that made it 5-0.
Population goes up by another one: After Max McCormick scored for Ottawa at 6:37 of the second period, Pominville scored at 7:06, driving home a rebound of an Eichel shot that hit the goalpost.
Rapid-fire continues: Conor Sheary scored on a breakaway at 7:48 of the period to make it 7-1, prompting Senators coach Guy Boucher to call a timeout to air out his team. The Sabres' four second-period goals came in a span of 2 minutes, 42 seconds.
Final salvos: Patrik Berglund added a third-period goal, his first at home as a Sabre. Berglund's only previous goal this season was an empty-netter to clinch the Oct. 21 win in Anaheim. Casey Mittelstadt got the ninth goal with 6:47 to go on a laser to the top corner. It was the third of his career, second of the season and first at home. Cody Ceci scored Ottawa's second goal a minute later.
Up Next: The Sabres headed to New York after the game and will meet the Rangers Sunday night at 7 in Madison Square Garden. Carter Hutton made 43 saves in the teams' first meeting, a 3-1 Buffalo win on Oct. 6, and is likely to be in the nets again Sunday.