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Game 56 Preview: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

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It’s the latest edition of the Eastern Conference Garbage Bowl!

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres come to town tonight to face the Senators, with both teams looking to lose two valuable points to move down the standings. It will be the latest edition of the post-Chris DiDomenico Sens (he cleared waivers this morning), as well as the start of the Dion Phaneuf-less era. (An earlier version of this story said “he CLAIMED waivers” which makes no grammatical sense, and sounds like the opposite of the truth)

Tonight will see the debut of Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore in the lineup. Erik Karlsson left practice early, but should be good to go, making Fredrik Claesson the healthy scratch. Craig Anderson gets the start. Here are the lines:

Hoffman - Duchene - Gaborik
Smith - Brassard - Stone
Paajarvi - Pageau - Pyatt
Dzingel - Shore - White

Oduya - Karlsson
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot

Anderson (starter)
Condon

Some thoughts:

  • Thomas Chabot needs one point tonight to pass Cody Ceci for the season. We’ll see if it happens. He did have a three-game point streak before Tuesday’s loss to the Penguins.
  • Boucher sees Ben Harpur - Ceci as a shutdown duo, so we’ll see how that goes tonight against an admittedly weak Sabres team. It could be a preview of next year’s second pairing.
  • I’m curious how long Gaborik gets on the top line. Probably gets at least three games, and if he doesn’t produce, we’ll see how far he falls.
  • Meanwhile, I think Nick Shore will get a good chance to prove himself. He’s an RFA at the end of the year, so I expect him to play every game down the stretch and kill a lot of penalties.
  • Chrome’s automatic Spell Check thinks that “Sabres” isn’t a word. Your move, Buffalo.

Here are some stats:

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