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Game 29 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

Losing to the 31st-place team set off this awful mess...

NHL:  Buffalo Sabres at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re still reading these, full credit to you. I wouldn’t blame you if you’d checked out from the team by now. Not that I’ve stopped caring about the Senators, just that sometimes you need to give yourself healthy distance to stay calm. Some of us are contractually obligated to keep watching and recapping these games.

The Sens take on the Sabres tonight in a battle of two of the league’s three worst teams, standings-wise. This should be an easier test, but that’s what I said about the Ducks who were playing Derek friggin’ Grant in their top six, and we all know what happened there. Brace yourselves for anything, that’s all I’m saying.

Mike Condon starts tonight, and Fredrik Claesson (finally) draws back in. No word on who comes out just yet - Nate Thompson may not be available, so 11F-7D is a possibility. If Thompson is a go, best guess is Ben Harpur or Thomas Chabot coming out but Boucher also said it could be another forward sitting too.

So helpful.

Smith - Brassard - Stone
Ryan - Duchene - Dzingel
Hoffman - Pageau - Dumont
Burrows - Thompson - Pyatt

Claesson - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Chabot or Harpur
Oduya - Ceci

Condon (starter)

Some thoughts:

  • Guy Boucher referred to this as the toughest month of hockey in his life. No kidding. As much as I criticize some of his decisions, this has got to weigh on a guy way more than I expect
  • I said this in Three Stars as well, but why isn’t Derick Brassard getting more criticism? He’s gone seven games without a point. He had 15 points in 16 games to start the season, and only 2 in 12 since then. Of all the names I’ve heard floated around as holding the team back or anything, I’ve heard nothing about him
  • The Sens have been shut out four times this season. The first time against the Rangers, they went two scoreless periods against the Capitals before finally scoring again. The second time, against the Jets, they followed it up with the third. Coming off being shut out yet again, this time by the Sharks, we’ll see if the Sens go 2+ periods without a goal once again as a follow-up
  • Evander Kane has 130 shots on goal this year. Someone’s looking for a one-way ticket out of town
  • About those trade rumours...
  • Seriously though, ease yourself with all the media takes. Sportsnet (and the NHL) has interest in drumming interest in the Sens right before the outdoor game. We know management has leaked PR-type stories through the media before, and is likely doing it now. What I’m saying is, don’t believe everything you read. Sometimes your team actually trades P.K. Subban, but most of the time media takes are nothing more than that. Erik Karlsson 99.62399914% isn’t getting traded in the next week. The GM should always be listening to trade offers. That doesn’t mean that because there have been offers for Mike Hoffman, he’s out of here for Ryan Strome and a 6th-rounder. Let’s all remember that even though this stretch has been tough, not every Tweet is stone-cold fact.

Here are some stats for tonight’s game, via and

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.68 25th 3.25 6th
Goals against/GP 3.44 30th 2.56 3rd
Shots/GP 30.7 24th 32.8 11th
Shots against/GP 33.0 25th 29.3 2nd
Powerplay % 16.7 26th 23.5 4th
Penalty Kill % 76.2 27th 83.3 4th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 46.32 29th 53.97 2nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 46.94 27th 54.01 1st

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53