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Game 50 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres on 4 February 2017.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators will continue to attempt to solidify their grip on home-ice advantage for the playoffs when they visit the Buffalo Sabres tonight. The Senators are coming off an impressive 5-2 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday while the Sabres lost 2-1 in overtime against the Rangers on the same night. The Sabres have lost three in a row while Ottawa ended a run of back-to-back losses. The Senators are 7-2-2 in their last 11 games though.

There will be no changes to the lineup which means Chris Neil and Fredrik Claesson will be the healthy scratches. Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Senators.

Smith - Brassard - Stone
Dzingel - Turris - Ryan
Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt
Kelly - Lazar - Wingels

Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman

Condon (starter)
Hammond

Some notes for tonight:

  • Erik Karlsson has five points in two games since the all-star break. That burst of speed for his breakaway in Tampa Bay was just incredible wasn't it?
  • The Senators are now being outshot by only one per game on average for the season! They are 13th in shots allowed.
  • Ottawa is 15th in regulation wins but only five teams have fewer regulation losses than Ottawa in the NHL. Although part of that is because of the number of games played.
  • The Sabres have allowed a league high 33.5 shots per game.
  • Buffalo also has the second worst kill rate on the penalty kill this season, with the opposition scoring on 25.9% of power plays. The Senators have the eighth best kill allowing a goal on only 16.9% of power plays.
  • The Senators are 10th in the NHL in terms of points per game.
  • Ottawa is now 6-8 in games decided by three or more goals.
  • There is a three way tie between Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone with 18 goals. Hoffman has done it in 44 games, Stone in 48 and Turris in 49.
  • The Senators have 10 empty net goals this season.
  • Ottawa's shot attempt numbers aren't great, the unblocked shot attempt numbers are a bit better, the shots on goal are even better and scoring chances and expected goals are almost at 50%.
  • The Bruins and the Leafs play each other tonight. After that Boston has three games in the next 14 days. That will give Ottawa the opportunity to stretch their lead for the top three playoff spots in the Atlantic.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from Corsica.

Category Ottawa Buffalo
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 18 Kyle Okposo 15
Assists Erik Karlsson 36

Rasmus Ristolainen

25
Points Erik Karlsson 44 Kyle Okposo 31
Shots Mike Hoffman 135 Evander Kane 132
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:06 Rasmus Ristolainen 27:10

Category

Ottawa Buffalo
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.71 15th 2.40 25th
Goals Against 2.65 12th 2.76 15th
Zone, Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 47.53% 24th 47.23% 27th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 47.85% 24th 46.98% 27th
Shots For 29.2 22nd 30.0 13th
Shots Against 30.2 13th 33.5 30th