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Game 39: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

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Ottawa Senators
@ Buffalo Sabres

Saturday, Dec 31, 2011, 7:00 PM EST
First Niagara Center

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It is the last game of 2011 for the Ottawa Senators and their 15th game of December. The Senators have gone 6-5-3 so far, keeping them firmly in the playoff bubble without neither pulling away nor falling off. With Toronto and Winnipeg playing each other tonight, an Ottawa win would move them back into a playoff spot.

Matt Carkner will return to the lineup in the place of Brian Lee and Craig Anderson will start. I will assume the lines are the same otherwise.

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Erik Condra - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Zack Smith - Bobby Butler
Kaspars Daugavins - Zenon Konopka - Chris Neil
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Carkner
Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

More after the jump.

Here are things to watch for tonight:

  • Craig Anderson: Anderson was brutal against the Canadiens but didn't allow a goal in relief against Calgary. Can he put in another strong performance?
  • Erik Karlsson: Karlsson might have had his best game of the season last night. He had the tying goal, plus assisted on the game winner, fired 8 shots on net and another 8 shots that either missed the target or were blocked. He had a +26 Corsi and was on the ice for 21 Ottawa scoring chances and only 6 Calgary chances. Half the season is almost over and he is still on pace for 76 points.
  • Take advantage of struggling opponent: Ottawa has often helped their opponent's snap losing streaks against them this season. Buffalo has lost five out of six and seven out of nine. Can the Senators keep them down?