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

It’s getting really late pretty early

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 16OttawaSenatorsBuffaloSabres
Goals Against/GP3.5324th3.56T-25th
Shots Against/GP34.225th31.415th
Powerplay %23.210th23.78th
Penalty Kill %76.820th71.429th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA)51.1815th52.1711th
xGF % (5v5 SVA)50.9713th49.2618th


Game 16OttawaSenatorsBuffaloSabres
GoalsShane Pinto/Claude Giroux8Tage Thompson11
AssistsBrady Tkachuk14Rasmus Dahlin11
PointsBrady Tkachuk20Tage Thompson21
ShotsAlex DeBrincat/Brady Tkachuk59Tage Thompson69
Time on Ice/GPTim Stutzle (of healthy players)20:26Rasmus Dahlin26:24

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

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