Game 56 Preview: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

It’s the latest edition of the Eastern Conference Garbage Bowl!

The Sabres come to town tonight to face the Senators, with both teams looking to lose two valuable points to move down the standings. It will be the latest edition of the post-Chris DiDomenico Sens (he cleared waivers this morning), as well as the start of the Dion Phaneuf-less era. (An earlier version of this story said “he CLAIMED waivers” which makes no grammatical sense, and sounds like the opposite of the truth)

Tonight will see the debut of Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore in the lineup. Erik Karlsson left practice early, but should be good to go, making Fredrik Claesson the healthy scratch. Craig Anderson gets the start. Here are the lines:

Hoffman - Duchene - Gaborik
Smith - Brassard - Stone
Paajarvi - Pageau - Pyatt
Dzingel - Shore - White

Oduya - Karlsson
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot

Anderson (starter)

Some thoughts:

  • Thomas Chabot needs one point tonight to pass Cody Ceci for the season. We’ll see if it happens. He did have a three-game point streak before Tuesday’s loss to the Penguins.
  • Boucher sees Ben Harpur - Ceci as a shutdown duo, so we’ll see how that goes tonight against an admittedly weak Sabres team. It could be a preview of next year’s second pairing.
  • I’m curious how long Gaborik gets on the top line. Probably gets at least three games, and if he doesn’t produce, we’ll see how far he falls.
  • Meanwhile, I think Nick Shore will get a good chance to prove himself. He’s an RFA at the end of the year, so I expect him to play every game down the stretch and kill a lot of penalties.
  • Chrome’s automatic Spell Check thinks that “Sabres” isn’t a word. Your move, Buffalo./

Here are some stats:

Team Stats

Goals against/GP3.4430th2.563rd
Shots against/GP33.025th29.32nd
Powerplay %16.726th23.54th
Penalty Kill %76.227th83.34th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)46.3229th53.972nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA)46.9427th54.011st

Player Stats

GoalsMatt Duchene27Brad Marchand34
AssistsErik Karlsson (out)53Brad Marchand51
PointsKarlsson/Stone (both out)62Brad Marchand85
ShotsMike Hoffman253David Pastrnak236
TOI/GPErik Karlsson (out)26:44Zdeno Chara22:53

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