Game 82: Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators

AKA "The quest to not get hurt."

The Sabres are already missing: Tim Connolly (foot), Jochen Hecht (upper body), Thomas Vanek (groin) and Patrick Kaleta (hand) although Vanek may play tonight. While Ryan Miller should not be playing any more regular season games, the folks at Die By the Blade expect him to get the start tonight.

Meanwhile, Ottawa will of course be without Alex Kovalev. Pascal Leclaire gets the start because if anything happens to Brian Elliott, head coach Cory Clouston doesn't have many moves to make.

Players to watch tonight:

Peter Regin, Milan Michalek, Mike Fisher, Matt Cullen: This game is the only preparation the team will get for life without Kovalev. Regardless of your feelings about AK27, he was a player who opened up a lot of ice for his teammates. Fisher has three goals in his last two games; it will be interesting to see if he can keep up that pace with less space to work with. Every player listed here must step up their game in the absence of Kovalev. You want an idea of how the team will do in the playoffs? Your wish has been granted -- the play of these four will give you a good idea if Ottawa is going to make a run or flame out.

Oh, and the Senators will be celebrating the 1000th game of the best captain in the NHL, Daniel Alfredsson. If it doesn't go exactly like this and then this, I will be immensely disappointed. How awesome would it be for Alfie to just ignore the ceremony and stare down Miller the entire time?

Other than that, hopefully both teams manage an injury-free game. The PLAYOFFS start next week!

As always, please join us in the comments section where we will either wring our hands in woe and despair or talk about how we will win the Cup, depending on the outcome of the game.

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