Game 80 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

Game 80! It’s almost over!

Hey gang, we’ve almost made it. It’s Game 80. Three more of these things and we’ll be done with this horror of an Ottawa Senators season. They go to visit the Sabres tonight, another team that may have been hoping for a better season than the one they got.

Zack Smith sat out practice today, but it’s reportedly just a maintenance day, so he’ll take Mark Stone’s spot from practice, since Stone isn’t playing tonight. Erik Karlsson didn’t make the road trip (understandably), which means the Sens should be going with 12 forwards, 6 defencemen. Craig Anderson gets the start, with the newly recalled Danny Taylor as backup since Mike Condon has a concussion. Breathe. So after all that, here are my line estimates:

Hoffman - Duchene - White
Ryan - Pageau - Pyatt
Paajarvi - Smith - Dzingel
McCormick - Chlapik - Burrows

Chabot - Ceci
Claesson - Borowiecki
Harpur - Wolanin

Anderson (starter)

Some thoughts:

  • Marian Gaborik has gone to L.A. to see a specialist. I’m guessing we’ve seen the last of him playing for the Sens, but if he’s not healthy, there’s no way the team can buy him out. Maybe he’ll pull a Chris Phillips and be on LTIR for all of 2018-19.
  • Curious to see Taylor get the call-up. I imagine if they actually wanted to see somebody play, they’d call up Filip Gustavsson. I think that means Andy gets the last three games of the year.
  • I’m really hoping Marcus Hogberg and Gustavsson split the AHL net next year. There’s no reason to bring in a lacklustre veteran like Danny Taylor again. I don’t know if Hogberg is the goalie of the future, but I know you can’t find out by making him spend half his life on the 401 between Belleville and Brampton. The fact that Taylor got 32 games this year is bad. The fact that Andrew Hammond got 18, many of them after the “trade” to the Avalanche, is inexcusable.
  • Back to the present. Have we seen Erik Karlsson’s last game as a Senator? Don’t worry, Sportsnet will ask that question for you at least three times per week until the draft.
  • Mark Stone may not play again this season, which really, is a great choice. There’s nothing to play for. Embrace the tank. Keep your best forward healthy. He’s still gonna lead the Sens in points (tied with Karlsson).
  • Karlsson’s 62 points in 71 games is likely going to lead defencemen in points per game (minimum 3 GP). We’ll see if Tyson Barrie of somebody has a big end to the season to challenge him.
  • In 2018, Matt Duchene has 41 points in 42 games. That’s pretty good.
  • Colin White and Jack Eichel are best friends. Probably not tonight though.
  • Even if the Sens win out, they can finish no higher than fifth-last. A regulation loss tonight would put them one up on Buffalo for last in the league with each team having two games left. If the Sens lose tonight in regulation, they will likely finish bottom-two in the league./

And now for some stats, via except for Corsi/Fenwick from

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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