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Game 50 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

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We’re in the home stretch.

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

In their second game after the All-Star break, the Ottawa Senators (17-23-9) will look to get their first win of the season’s final stretch, as they’re in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres (22-20-7).

The Sens are in the second game of a back-to-back, having dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the New Jersey Devils on home ice, last night. The Sabres, meanwhile. are returning to action for the first time since their week off.

Having faced over 50 shots last night, my guess is D.J. Smith will give Marcus Hogberg a break, and start Craig Anderson tonight. I doubt there will be too many changes to the Ottawa lineup other than that, so expect it to look something like this:


Tkachuk-Pageau-Brown
Namestnikov-Tierney-Duclair
Ennis-White-Batherson
Chlapik-Anisimov-Boedker/Sabourin

Chabot-Hainsey
Reilly-DeMelo
Borowiecki-Zaitsev

Anderson (starter)
Hogberg

Game Notes:

  • It will be interesting to see who is the better team tonight. The Senators are likely a bit fatigued after a hard-fought game last night, and the Sabres are rested. That said, it could also mean that Buffalo will be rusty, and Ottawa may be able to steal one.
  • When these teams last faced off on December 23, 2019, Craig Anderson was sensational. He stopped 43 of 44 shots, sporting a .977SV%, en route to a 3-1 Ottawa victory. That was Andy’s last really solid game, as in his five appearances since then, he’s given up 22 goals, with an average SV% of .861. Hopefully he can get back on track tonight.
  • Funnily enough, that last Buffalo game was also the beginning of Anthony Duclair’s cold streak. Putting aside a great All-Star performance, The Duke hasn’t scored in 11 games, despite having some Grade-A chances last night. It will be important for him not to get frustrated, and take things one game at a time. As my father says; “He just needs to put one in off somebody’s ass”.
  • Jack Eichel scored four times to down the Sens on November 16th, 2019, but saw his 18-game point streak snapped by Ottawa in the December 23rd rematch. Have to think the motivation might be a little higher for the Buffalo captain tonight, against a couple of his All-Star teammates.
  • Puck drop is scheduled for 7pmET, and you can catch this one on TSN5, RDS, and NHL Network, as well as MSG for our friends south of the border. As always, Dean Brown and Gord Wilson have the radio call on TSN 1200.

Here are tonight’s pregame stats, courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Category Player # Player #
Goals Anthony Duclair 23 Anze Kopitar 21
Assists Thomas Chabot 33 Anze Kopitar 41
Points Brady Tkachuk 43 Anze Kopitar 62
Shots Brady Tkachuk 258 Jeff Carter 182
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 26:02 Drew Doughty 25:51

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Arizona Coyotes
Ottawa Senators Arizona Coyotes
# Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.63 26th 2.71 23rd
Goals against/GP 3.32 28th 2.68 5th
Shots/GP 29.9 24th 31.3 18th
Shots against/GP 33.6 29th 32.3 22nd
Powerplay % 14.6 28th 18.8 20th
Penalty Kill % 78.8 20th 82.8 7th
Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted) 47.23 27th 48.07 26th
Fenwick % (5v5, SVA) 47.71 27th 48.19 24th