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Game 32 Preview and Open Thread: Ottawa Senators Vs. Buffalo Sabres

Also a preview of next Tuesday’s game—also against the Sabres!

Ottawa Senators v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Remember pre-COVID times when the Sens played the Sabres seemingly every Tuesday and Thursday night? That feels like a lifetime ago, as the Senators now face off against Buffalo for the first time in almost two years. Things have changed in some ways with Buffalo shipping off some big names like Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, and Rasmus Ristolainen. At the same time, both Ottawa and Buffalo still find themselves closer to the draft lottery than the playoffs so I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Sabres come into this game fresh off a tough loss to the Detroit Red Wings and based on what we saw last night, Buffalo could ice a line-up looking something like this:

Skinner - Thompson - Tuch
Bjork - Eakin - Hayden
Olofsson - Cozens - Asplund
Krebs - Okposo - Hinostroza

Dahlin - Jokiharju
Samuelsson - Pysyk
Butcher - Hagg

With the Sabres playing the latter half of a back-to-back and Ottawa coming off two wins out west, fans in Ottawa have to feel pretty good about the Senators’ chances tonight (even if no fans can attend in person). Ottawa will likely start Matt Murray for the third consecutive game and use the same lines and pairings as they did against the Edmonton Oilers. Aaron Dell started last night for the Sabres so we could see Malcolm Subban in the opposite crease but the Sabres’ staff hasn’t confirmed anything yet.

Game Notes:

  • Who to Watch: Buffalo has a couple of highly touted prospects in the lineup in Dylan Cozens and Peyton Krebs. Fans will have to wait for young goaltender Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen though, whom the Sabres have placed on the injured reserve.
  • Sens fans also won’t get to see old friend Craig Anderson tonight (injured as well).
  • In the absence of players like Eichel and Reinhart, Jeff Skinner has become one of the better redemption stories in the NHL. Long maligned as just another bad contract, Skinner has taken the helm for this wayward squadron and made the most of his opportunity.
  • Depending which iteration of Murray shows up tonight, Ottawa has a decent chance in the goaltending match-up, and better numbers on the powerplay while Buffalo has a decent penalty kill (burned by poor goaltending results) and overall decent defensive numbers. On paper Ottawa has the edge in offence but as we know, the game goes down on ice and not paper.

Where to watch: TSN5 RDS2 TSN1200 @7PM EST

Stats

Players

Game 32 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Game 32 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 16 Jeff Skinner 14
Assists Drake Batherson 20 Rasmus Dahlin 17
Points Drake Batherson 30 Tage Thompson 24
Shots Brady Tkachuk 87 Tage Thompson 111
TOI Thomas Chabot 27:04 Rasmus Dahlin 23:57

Teams

Game 32 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Game 32 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Category Rank # Rank #
Goals 18th 2.82 26th 2.49
Goals against 30th 3.59 27th 3.43
Shots 26th 28.53 27th 28.45
Shots against 29th 33.64 30th 33.73
Powerplay 15th 20.0% 18th 18.8%
Penalty Kill 22nd 78.0% 20th 78.1%
Corsi 31st 44.5% 27th 45.9%
xGoals 26th 46.1% 31st 43.8%