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:
- 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.
|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|
|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|