"The players did the right thing," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "You can't respond any other way."
Drew Stafford scored the lone shootout goal in a 6-5 win for Buffalo, which rallied from a two-goal deficit and overcame the loss of co-captain Chris Drury.
Drury, who also scored, left in the second period with a deep cut across his forehead after being blindsided by Ottawa's Chris Neil _ a hit that sparked a wild melee that involved all 12 players on the ice _ including goalies Ray Emery and Martin Biron. The game was delayed for about 20 minutes while officials issued 100 minutes in penalties, including 63 against Buffalo. Emery and Biron were ejected, as was Buffalo's Andrew Peters.
Drury could miss a few games with what team officials called a "head injury."
"It didn't matter who was on the ice, anybody would've responded," Biron said. "That was really satisfying. And it's satisfying to see the way we played after that."
After the teams failed on each of their first three shootout attempts, Stafford scored when he faked going to his forehand and flipped a backhander past Martin Gerber. Ryan Miller then sealed it when he gloved Mike Fisher's attempt.
It was one of eight games Thursday night that went to overtime, and one of four decided by a shootout.
In other games won in shootouts, New Jersey topped the New York Rangers 3-2; the New York Islanders edged Toronto 3-2; and Montreal beat Nashville 6-5.
In overtime games, it was: Tampa Bay 5, Atlanta 4; Carolina 3, Philadelphia 2; Pittsburgh 2, Florida 1; and Phoenix 3, Calgary 2. In games decided in regulation, it was: Edmonton 4, Columbus 0; San Jose 2, Chicago 0; Minnesota 4, Colorado 3; and Vancouver 3, Los Angeles 2.
At Buffalo, Senators coach Bryan Murray was unhappy with how the brawl began, angry how Sabres fourth-liner Adam Mair punched Senators star Jason Spezza in the head on the face-off after Drury was hurt.
"I put out skill players and he sends out the five guys on his team that are going to start a fight," Murray said, referring to Ruff. He then accused the Sabres coach of ordering his players to start the fight.
Ruff's answer to that was: "I'm not going to comment what I had on my mind."
The teams meet again Saturday night at Ottawa to complete the eight-game season series between the Northeast Division rivals.
"If they want to start something, we've got guys that can handle that and it should be a good one Saturday," Senators forward Dany Heatley said. "It's fun to play them. They're exciting, emotional games."
Devils 3, Rangers 2, SO
Jamie Langenbrunner scored the decisive goal in the shootout after Zach Parise got New Jersey even in the third period, and the visiting Devils swept a home-and-home series.
Parise forced overtime and completed New Jersey's rally from a 2-0 deficit, scoring with 7:13 left in regulation. Brian Rafalski scored in the second period for the Devils, who won the season series 5-2-1 _ including two shootout victories.
Islanders 3, Maple Leafs 2, SO
Randy Robitaille scored the only goal of the shootout to lead New York to a come-from-behind victory.
The Islanders chose to go first in the shootout, and after misses by Miroslav Satan and Viktor Kozlov, Robitaille beat Andrew Raycroft with a wrist shot.
Visiting Toronto missed all three of its chances against Rick DiPietro, who turned aside John Pohl, Mats Sundin and Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Canadiens 6, Predators 5, SO
Sergei Samsonov scored with 47.1 seconds left in regulation, and Saku Koivu's shootout gal lifted visiting Montreal.
Peter Forsberg, acquired by Nashville in a trade last week, had a chance to answer Koivu's goal, but slipped to the ice on his attempt against Jaroslav Halak.
Lightning 5, Thrashers 4, OT
Martin St. Louis scored with 1:16 left in overtime to lead visiting Tampa Bay into first place in the Southeast Division.
St. Louis fired a shot from the left circle past Johan Hedberg, giving the Lightning the win and 73 points _ one point more than the Thrashers. Brad Richards, Erric Perrin, Vincent Lecavalier and Andrew Roy also scored for Tampa Bay, which trailed Atlanta by 16 points in early January.
Hurricanes 3, Flyers 2, OT
Glen Wesley scored a short-handed goal 16 seconds into overtime to give Carolina the win at home.
Rod Brind'Amour reached the 20-goal mark for the 12th time in his 18-year career, and Andrew Ladd added a goal for the Hurricanes.
Penguins 2, Panthers 1, OT
Colby Armstrong scored at 2:39 of overtime to lead visiting Pittsburgh.
Jordan Staal also scored for the Penguins, who rebounded after having its 14-0-2 streak snapped by the Islanders on Monday.
Coyotes 3, Flames 2, OT
Shane Doan scored 54 seconds into overtime to snap Phoenix's six-game losing streak.
Oleg Saprykin and Steven Reinprecht also scored for the Coyotes. Alex Tanguay and Stephane Yelle scored for Calgary, which has lost seven straight on the road.
Oilers 4, Blue Jackets 0
Dwayne Roloson made 28 saves for his 22nd career shutout, and visiting Edmonton snapped a four-game losing streak.
Shawn Horcoff recorded his first two-goal game of the season, and Ryan Smyth and Ladislav Smid also scored for the Oilers.
Sharks 2, Blackhawks 0
Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist for visiting San Jose.
Jonathan Cheechoo also scored for the Sharks.
Wild 4, Avalanche 3
At Denver, Niklas Backstrom stopped 28 shots, and Wyatt Smith scored his first goal in 92 games to help Minnesota beat Colorado.
Minnesota has won nine of its last 12 road games since ending an 11-game road winless streak on Jan. 11. The Wild are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games overall.
Canucks 3, Kings 2
Defenseman Kevin Bieksa scored the go-ahead goal with 3:54 left in the third period and visiting Vancouver won its sixth straight.
Brendan Morrison scored on a power play and Trevor Linden also had a goal for the Northwest Division leaders, who are 11-1-1 in their last 13 road games.