It's finally back for real.
Sure, preseason had its moments, but in the long run, it doesn't mean anything. There are 82 games that count toward making the playoffs, and for the Ottawa Senators, those 82 games begin tonight. Ottawa has what could be seen as good fortune in playing the Buffalo Sabres in a home opener -- the Senators were excellent at Scotiabank Place last season, and have been stellar against the Sabres for the past few years.
As I sit down and watch the first game of the NHL season, here's what I'll be looking for:
- Goalie controversy - after a disappointing first season (which he followed with a middling preseason) with the Senators, Pascal Leclaire gets the start in net tonight. Clouston is giving him yet another chance to prove he should be the starter, and it's time to see what Leclaire does with it. Let's not compare him to the guy in the other team's net, because that's just not fair.
- Preseason performers - Erik Karlsson had a mediocre preseason, Nick Foligno had a great one. How will they perform now that the games start to count? It'll be interesting to see.
- Puh-puh-powerplay - Sergei Gonchar is now manning the Sens' powerplay, and one has to hope he can get it off to a strong start.
As always, join us before, during, and after the game in the comments.