Game 33 preview: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

Jen Fuller

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres on 12 December 2013.

The Ottawa Senators have a chance to move to within three points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the final playoff spot when they host the Buffalo Sabres tonight. With the Leafs playing on back-to-back nights and on the road in St. Louis, I would put my money (literally) on Ottawa ending the night two points behind Buffalo three points behind Toronto. The Senators had a couple of big news items today with Jean-Gabriel Pageau (!) and Cody Ceci (!!!) being recalled to play.

We know that Ceci will play with Chris Phillips while Joe Corvo will play on the left side. The logical conclusion is that everyone's my dream pairing of Patrick Wiercioch and Erik Karlsson will finally likely materialise. Craig Anderson will return in goal. Here are the lines from Shawn McKenzie.

MacArthur - Spezza - Zibanejad
Conacher - Turris - Ryan
Greening - Pageau - Neil
Michalek - Smith - Condra

Wiercioch - Karlsson (!!!!!!)
Phillips - Ceci
Corvo - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Here are some notes for tonight:

  • Craig Anderson has had a rough time for the most part this season but a game against a Sabres team that scores one goal or less in half the games should be a good chance for him.
  • While the Senators are creeping closer to the playoffs in points, it is worth remembering that there are likely six teams competing for one spot or possibly seven teams for two spots. Ottawa might have as good a chance as any other specific team, but the odds are still stacked against them. One estimate puts it at 20.5% for what it is worth.
  • I am very excited to see this Wiercioch - Karlsson pairing. I think they will do very well. If it is something that works out, then a future Methot - Gryba pairing could be thrown to the wolves in tough situations allowing a pretty decent top four. That pairing might have trouble moving the puck out of the zone though.
  • Remember Pageau!? He's back...in over a point per game form!
  • Big shout out to my good friend The Backhander who gets to fulfil a childhood dream by seeing Eric Gryba in person. Lookin' good Gryba!
  • Ottawa has won the all important #fancystats battle for eight consecutive games. Luck has not been on their side though, going only 3-3-2 in that span. I think it will be nine straight games and 4-3-2 after tonight.
My prediction: Ottawa 6 Buffalo 1. The Senators will annihilate them. Or I will cry.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Buffalo
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 14 Cody Hodgson 8
Assists Erik Karlsson 21 Cody Hodgson 10
Points Erik Karlsson 29 Cody Hodgson 18
Shots Kyle Turris 98 Cody Hodgson 75
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:47 Christian Ehrhoff 24:08

Category Ottawa Buffalo
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.84 8th 1.58 30th
Goals Against 3.12 26th 2.97 24th
Corsi Close % 50.3% 13th 40.5% 30th
Fenwick Close % 49.0% 20th 39.8% 30th
Shots For 33.2 3rd 25.5 29th
Shots Against 34.1 27th 34.4 28th
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