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Game 66 Preview: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

It’s a battle of the bottom-dwellers!

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

The Senators are coming off a win against the Stars, while the Sabres played last night and were dismantled by the Flames in a 5-1 score which probably flatters them. If you’re on Team Tank, tonight is a must-lose game against an opponent that is only three points behind the Sens (but with the Sens having two more games remaining). A loss will be tough, with the Sens well-rested and the Sabres playing a back-to-back with travel.

According to Brent Wallace, Max McCormick and Erik Burgdoerfer are the scratches, with Craig Anderson getting the start. Here are your lines and pairings:

Hoffman - Duchene - Dzingel
Ryan - Pageau - Stone
Paajaarvi - Smith - Pyatt
Gaborik - O'Brien - Burrows

Claesson - Karlsson
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot

Anderson (starter)

My pointless thoughts:

  • That Hoffman-Duchene line has been seeing a lot of turnover as of late. After auditions of Gaborik, Burrows, Paajaarvi, and McCormick on that top line, Ryan Dzingel gets his shot. Personally I think he’s the only one with a real shot at sticking in the top six, but you never know on a Guy Boucher team
  • There’s been a lot of talk recently about Mark Stone’s upcoming deal, with one model suggesting he gets $9M. Even the model owner suggests that’s high, but as Ken Warren pointed out in The Sun, Ryan Johansen and Evgeny Kuznetsov are lower point-per-game players making $8M and $7.8M respectively.
  • Unrelatedly, “mark” and “stone” both work was improper nouns, so I can’t rely on spell check to let me know I’ve forgotten to capitalize them.
  • People have also been pointing out that we need to know for next year if Chabot - Ceci would work as a defensive partnership. I can’t understand why we’re not seeing any of it in these meaningless games.
  • Boucher had some interesting comments this morning:

My personal thought is that Pageau could be a defensive centre with scoring ability if his linemates weren’t Pyatt and Thompson half the year, but you know, I’m never gonna be an NHL coach

  • This is still a weird time of year for me. I want to see the Sens lose, but then I see Karlsson get a breakaway on the counterattack in overtime and I get out of my seat hoping to see him score. I hope every game from now on is an 8-7 loss for the Sens with Karlsson getting a hat-trick and four assists.

Some stats for tonight’s teams:

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