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Game 47 Preview + Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

The one with Craig Anderson in the other net

NHL: Player Headshots 2021 Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

After last night’s thrilling gold medal game, it’s time to turn our attention to… a regular season matchup between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators.

Fun!

This will be the first meeting between these two teams since the Aaron Dell hit on Drake Batherson. There is no shortage of bad blood between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators right now, and things could get weird.

The more interesting storyline, however, is the guy who will be between the pipes for Buffalo tonight. All signs point to Craig Anderson getting the start against his former team - a long-awaited matchup, as he was injured the last time these teams faced each other. It’s sure to be an emotional one for the fans. We’ll also get to see if Anderson will join the ranks of Sens goalies who play extremely well against the Sens.

There was no morning skate today, but the Sens are expected to go with roughly the same lineup they rolled out against St. Louis. The one change will be Watson coming in for Clark Bishop. For reference, this was the lineup in the last game:

Game Notes:

  • This feels weird to say, but I think we’ve reached that point: underestimate the Sabres at your own risk. They are not a good team by any stretch of the imagination, but they’ve shown a bit of fight this year, proving that they’re capable of staying in games and pulling off surprise wins. As Sens fans, we all know what that’s like. They’re now coming off two consecutive wins, and Jeff Skinner is on a goal scoring tear.
  • Thomas Chabot has been placed on IR, which means that he’s out for this game and at least through the weekend. The expectation is that he’ll play on Tuesday. I don’t need to tell you what a difference that makes to this team. Every game played without Chabot in the lineup will be an uphill battle.
  • In Chabot’s absence, Dillon Heatherington has been re-called from Belleville. He won’t play tonight, though.
  • The starting goaltender will be announced closer to puck drop. It sounds like Forsberg has been dealing with illness. Gustavsson has been re-called from Belleville and will dress tonight in Matt Murray’s absence, but reading between the lines it sounds like the decision on who starts will come down to how Forsberg is feeling.
  • Some good news amidst the bad: Josh Norris is practicing with the team! There is still no timeline for his return, but it’s nice to see him making progress.
  • If you look at the player stats below, you may notice that the Sens finally have a points leader who is actually in the lineup. Brady Tkachuk overtook Drake Batherson with a point in the St. Louis game earlier this week. The fact that it took him so long really drives home what a good season Batherson was having before the injury.
  • Puck drop is at 7pm. You can watch on TSN5 or RDS2, or listen on TSN 1200.

Statistics:

As always, all stats are from NHL.com or NaturalStatTrick.com.

Player Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category Player # Player #
Goals Josh Norris 33 Jared McCann 25
Assists Tim Stützle 32 Yanni Gourde 26
Points Brady Tkachuk 59 Jared McCann, Yanni Gourde (tied) 43
Shots Brady Tkachuk 261 Jared McCann 174
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot (inj.) 26:23 Adam Larsson 22:10

Team Stats

Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Game 75 Ottawa Senators Seattle Kraken
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.71 26th 2.57 29th
Goals Against/GP 3.23 23rd 3.47 24th
Shots/GP 30.3 20th 28.8 31st
Shots Against/GP 33.2 25th 29.1 5th
Powerplay % 19.7 21st 14.3 29th
Penalty Kill % 80.5 13th 75.1 26th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 47.91 21st 49.03 19th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 47.10 24th 47.34 23rd