The Senators had a tough time putting the Buffalo Sabres in their place.

Milan Michalek had his first multi-goal game of the year -- including the winner with 21 seconds left -- as the Senators scored a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Sabres Thursday night.

Michalek's second of the night on a setup from captain Jason Spezza sent the 18,426 home happy after the Senators blew a 2-0 lead against the 30th-ranked Sabres and then escaped with the win.

While Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis were both able to beat Craig Anderson in the third, Michalek and Erik Karlsson were both able to beat Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth to secure the win.

After Ennis brought the Sabres to within a goal at 10:25, Stafford tied it up with only 4:14 left to erase the Sabres' two-goal deficit. Both goals were the result of bad defensive errors by Ottawa.

"We don't want anybody to leave early," said Anderson, who made 30 stops. "At this point, we'll take the two points. That's all that matters at this point in the year, you've got to win games.

"They don't ask how. You've just got to get the job done and we got the job done. That's the bottom line. We played well enough to win. They turned the intensity and we weathered it for the most part. Give them credit. They worked hard."

Fortunately, Michalek saved the day and Spezza had a two-point effort.

This game went pretty much the way coach Paul MacLean predicted. The Sabres might be one of the NHL's worst teams but they refuse to just roll over.

"We wanted to get the win in regulation and we're happy about that," said Michalek, who had his first multi-goal game of the year. "It's nice to get it because this was an important game.

"It's tough to play against these teams that are out of the playoffs and have nothing to lose. We're happy to get the two points and go from here."

Michalek's goal 10 seconds into the third period -- a franchise record for the fastest goal from the start of a period -- should have been enough to put Buffalo away with a 2-0 lead. He beat the old mark of 12 seconds set by Jason Spezza in March, 2009.

It was Spezza who set Michalek up to beat Enroth on the stick side with a perfect pass for his ninth of the season.

Like they have so many times this season, the Senators didn't make it easy against one of the NHL's bottom feeders and were ahead by only a slim 1-0 margin after 40 minutes.