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Game 58 preview: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between Erik Karlsson's Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres on 16 February 2016.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Four points in four games is not a terrible week, but at this time of year you really need to be doing better than a point per game. Erik Karlsson will look to get back on track in tonight's game when his Senators play against the Buffalo Sabres. Karlsson has fallen into a tie for third place with Tyler Seguin in the NHL scoring race, and is one point behind Jamie Benn in second. Karlsson has also seen his lead in the NHL assists race drop to four ahead of Patrick Kane.

With Mark Borowiecki injured, Ottawa will play by far its best defensive lineup of the season. Up front, Mika Zibanejad is a game time decision and Craig Anderson will start in net. Nick Paul will make his NHL debut if Zibanejad can't go. Here is the projected lineup.

Smith - Pageau - Stone
Dzingel - Turris - Ryan
Hoffman - Lazar - Chiasson
Prince - Paul - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Wiercioch - Wideman

Anderson (starter)
Hammond

Some notes for tonight:

  • Karlsson now needs 20 assists in 25 games to break the club record for most assists in a season. He needs 16 points in 25 games to break his own club record for points by a defenceman and needs 18 points to post the highest points total by a defenceman since 1995-1996.
  • The Sabres are four points behind Ottawa with the same number of games played. Buffalo is currently tied with Lumbus for third last in the NHL.
  • Karlsson has 37 points at home in 28 games this season.
  • For whatever it is worth, the Senators lead the NHL with 63 goals in the second period.
  • Ottawa has a goal difference of -21 in the first period, +13 in the second period and -13 in the third period.
  • The Senators are third in the NHL with 1,597 hits though so at least they are trying and bringing their all etc. etc.
  • They are also ninth in the NHL in blocked shots, so it is a team full of warriors.
  • Ottawa has given up three goals or more in 37 games so far this season. That is the highest in the NHL.
  • There is not much to hope for these days aside from watching Ottawa's draft position and Karlsson's point totals. Is there anything else you look forward to? The trade deadline?
  • Evander Kane will not play tonight after sleeping in for practice yesterday.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from www.puckon.net. Note that Corsi is now adjusted for score as well as the venue and event type.

Category Ottawa Buffalo
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 24 Jack Eichel 17
Assists Erik Karlsson 51 Ryan O'Reilly 32
Points Erik Karlsson 63 Ryan O'Reilly 49
Shots Erik Karlsson 169 Evander Kane 197
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 29:01 Rasmus Ristolainen 25:19

Category Ottawa Buffalo
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.79 8th 2.37 25th
Goals Against 3.11 30th 2.74 19th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 47.0% 24th 45.8% 29th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 46.4% 27th 45.3% 29th
Shots For 28.4 26th 29.5 16th
Shots Against 33.0 30th 30.9 22nd