The Senators returned to the Canadian Tire Centre looking for “traction” to get back into the NHL’s playoff picture.

A loss and this season may have hit the skids completely.

The Senators accomplished the first part of their mission completely with a strong 40-save performance from goalie Craig Anderson in a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in front of a sparse crowd of 15,578.

Led by two-point nights from Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris while Zack Smith chipped in with his third game-winning goal this season as the Senators are suddenly within breathing distance of a spot in the post-season by grabbing six-of-eight points in their last four games.

Only Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis was able to beat Anderson.

It’s only the second time in 21 appearances this season that he has allowed only one goal and that’s good news for the Senators who are trying to get their No. 1 goalie back in top form.

“We battled to the very end. We did the little things that created an opportunity for us to win that game,” said Anderson.

“We take this one game at a time. We’ll take the two points. We can be satisfied. We’ve got to look forward and get ready for the next opponent.

The Senators will take the two points but they didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Outshot, Ryan Miller faced 30 shots from Ottawa. It was club’s second straight win at home and it may have been Anderson’s best effort of the season, especially with the club killing a penalty in the dying minutes.

“It feels like the last few games we’re getting a bit of traction with points in the last three (games) and then getting two more,” said Smith.

“This is big for our confidence and it keeps us in the race.

“We’ve definitely had a problem showing up the next game after a big win. We’ve had trouble putting a few wins together. It’s a learning curve. You have to come the next day and know it’s going to be hard. We’re picking up on that right now.”

Anderson, trying to get his own game back on track, was able to make a couple of big stops to make sure the Sabres didn’t pull ahead.

He made his best stop with the glove early in the second with Ennis trying to fire it home after intercepting a clearing attempt by Anderson.