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Game 38: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

Welcome back, everyone! Here's to hoping the Senators pick up after the Christmas break a bit more nicely than they left off before it. A few notes to keep an eye out for during tonight's game:

  • Ottawa will be without Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson for the first time in a long time--if I recall correctly, first since the 2005-06 season. How will the team respond to being without two of their best scorers and leaders?
  • Even without Spezza and Alfredsson, the Senators still have their two leading goal scorers: Milan Michalek (16 goals) and Mike Fisher (15). Unfortunately, only has one goal in 12 games, and Fisher only has one in the last five.
  • Meanwhile, the guys you don't always expect to score have been putting up all the offence of late: Anton Volchenkov has two goals in his last three games, and Jarkko Ruutu has two in the last four. Even Chris Kelly has four point (1G, 3A) in his last four games.
  • Off-season signing Ryan Keller has been recalled again, and will get another opportunity to shake off the disappearing act he played last time he was up. He's put up plenty of points in Europe and the AHL, but will that success into even treading water in the NHL?
  • The Sens are only 5-8-0 in December, while Buffalo is 7-4-1. Does that mean anything? I don't know. Hopefully not.
  • Ottawa has won both previous matches this season, 5-3 on Nov. 21 and 2-0 on Dec. 16. The Sens were also 5-1 against Buffalo last season. And 5-2-1 in 2007-08. And 5-2-1 in the 2006-07 regular season, plus 4-1 in the 2006-07 playoffs. Meaning that in the teams' last 29 meetings, Ottawa has a record of 21-6-2. Hopefully that means something tonight.
  • The Sens are seven points behind the division-leading Sabres, and only six points ahead of the last-place (in the division) Maple Leafs. So, there are a big two points on the line.