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Game 16 Preview & Open Thread: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

It’s getting really late pretty early

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

Let’s not sugar coat it - the Ottawa Senators need to beat the Buffalo Sabres tonight if they want to hit the goal of “meaningful hockey in March”. We’ve all heard the measuring stick of US Thanksgiving - about 75% of teams in a playoff position stay there, and no team more than five points out has ever made it. The Sens currently sit eight points behind the wild card teams, with a week and four games to go before that benchmark.

We all know the injuries are going to make that harder. Josh Norris, Artem Zub and Thomas Chabot all out are challenging the roster’s depth. Line shuffling continues to try to find what works - Tkachuk-Giroux-Stützle has, DeBrincat-Pinto-Batherson less so.

The Sabres come in with similar motivation and similar problems. They’re riding the active league high six game losing streak, are only ahead of Ottawa and Columbus in the East, and have injuries to their captain Kyle Okposo, on their blue line with Mattias Samuelsson, and Jack Quinn is day to day so will miss out on his first game back home(ish). They’re coming off a back-to-back too.

Adversity. Opportunity.

The small shuffles continued today at the morning skate, with Brassard and Joseph skating with DeBrincat and Motte with Pinto and Batherson. The defensive pairings remain what we saw on Monday, but with the positive sign of Zub participating. Though a caution with these lines, DJ Smith said after the skate that “everyone will take the warmup tonight and we’ll pick the lineup after that”.

Game Notes

  • Zub isn’t ready to return yet, but taking part in the morning skate is a good sign
  • DJ (accurately) commented about losing the special teams battle on Monday - do we see some changes to the PP and PK units too?
  • Craig Anderson played last night, so misses out on the chance to play back in Ottawa again. At least he’ll be on the bench so the fans will have the chance to show their appreciation during the inevitable tribute video
  • I hope you haven’t visited Tankathon yet, but I don’t blame you if you have
  • Tonight is the Senators annual Hockey Fights Cancer night. Please consider a donation to your cancer charity of choice (Need suggestions? The Bryan Murray Legacy Fund is a good local choice with a Sens connection, and you can’t go wrong with the Canadian Cancer Society), and filling out an “I Fight For” card



Game 16 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Game 16 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 3.4 10th 3.69 T-4th
Goals Against/GP 3.53 24th 3.56 T-25th
Shots/GP 32.5 10th 31.9 14th
Shots Against/GP 34.2 25th 31.4 15th
Powerplay % 23.2 10th 23.7 8th
Penalty Kill % 76.8 20th 71.4 29th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 51.18 15th 52.17 11th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 50.97 13th 49.26 18th


Game 16 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Game 16 Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres
Category Player # Player #
Goals Shane Pinto/Claude Giroux 8 Tage Thompson 11
Assists Brady Tkachuk 14 Rasmus Dahlin 11
Points Brady Tkachuk 20 Tage Thompson 21
Shots Alex DeBrincat/Brady Tkachuk 59 Tage Thompson 69
Time on Ice/GP Tim Stutzle (of healthy players) 20:26 Rasmus Dahlin 26:24

It’s a 7pm start on Sportsnet and TVA Sports for TV coverage, and TSN1200 for the radio call.