Game 69: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

Hockey on a Sunday? It may as well happen now that the NFL is in turmoil.  This year's Bill and Ted Game finds the Senators facing an opponent who needs to win a lot more than they do.  A Sabres victory helps keep them in the final playoff spot of the Eastern Conferemce, tightens the screws on the hated Maple Leafs, and pushes the Sens closer to a lottery pick.

Still, who wants to root for losing? Not me! Instead, I'm hoping for an exciting Senators win. The team is 7-3-0 in their last ten games, while the Sabres are on a 6-2-2 run themselves. You may recall that just a few weeks ago, the Sabres gave the Sens a reality check with a 4-2 defeat in Buffalo. In that one, Buffalo fired 38 shots at Craig Anderson, and scored on three of them. Since that game, Ottawa has lost Milan Michalek to a foot injury, so things probably won't be any easier tonight.

Some players to watch:

  • The goaltenders - You may not know this, but Craig Anderson has been pretty OK as a goaltender since arriving in Ottawa. As previously mentioned, one of his three losses came against the Sabres, though he wasn't really at fault for the three goals scored against him in that game. As usual, the Sens need an excellent performance from him to have a shot at winning. We may also see Patrick Lalime on the other side, considering Buffalo is coming off a disheartening 4-3 loss to Toronto from last night. Still, Lindy Ruff has shown a tendency to put the team on Ryan Miller's back, and with so few games to go, you have to figure he's going to play his best guy.
  • Bobby Butler - Two game points streak for The Bust. Can he keep it up?
  • Ryan Shannon - Has seized his opportunity with gusto. Can he keep it up?
  • Jason Spezza - Ottawa's best player this past week. Can he... well, you get the idea.
  • Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek - with 26 and 24 goals respectively, this is where I expect Buffalo's best scoring chances to come from.

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