Game Day: Buffalo @ Ottawa

(22-21-5, 10th East)

vs

(17-25-7, 13th East)

The Ottawa Senators head into a much needed All-Star Break by hosting the divisional rival Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night (7:30 pm puck drop).  The Senators are coming off a tumultuous week, with the owner publicly throwing in the towel on the season and pledging to rebuild for next year.  The players still have something to prove as they are now playing for their future jobs.  If they still want to be here as part of the solution, they need to show it now.  The Senators are coming off an enbarassing 7-1 beatdown at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens and look to head into the break with at least a modicum of self-respect.  Buffalo is coming off a 5-3 win over the New York Islanders, however they find themselves in 10th place in the conference and badly need a win over the Senators to put themselves in a position to make a run at a playoff spot post All-Star break.

This will be the fourth meeting of the season between the clubs.  Buffalo holds a 2-1 edge, with the road team winning each match.  Daniel Alfredsson scored a hat trick, including his 1,000th point into an empty net during the October 22 Senators’ win in Buffalo.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

BUFFALO

Tyler Ennis, LW – The diminuative but speedy winger currently sits 5th in rookie scoring in the NHL (12 g – 15a – 27 pts).  With Derek Roy and Tim Connolly out and Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford nursing nagging injuries, the rookie will be counted on to provide some offense this evening.  Ennis will be the lone representative of the Sabres at the All-Star Game as he will participate in the rookie portion of the Super-Skills Challenge.

OTTAWA

Bobby Butler, RW – Butler is looking more and more comfortable each game at the NHL level.  This will be his 8th contest of the  season, and it is only a matter of time before he notches his first NHL point.  Butler registered a team high 6 shots on goal, and was even seeing time on the second power play unit against Montreal.

LOCAL OTTAWA FLAVOUR

Back-up goaltender Patrick Lalime is very familiar to Ottawa fans as the former Senator was run out of town following a game 7 meltdown againts the Toronto Maple Leafs. I choose to remember him for his part in this brawl from 2004. (he had a bit part inthe festivities, but the entire video never gets old!)

LAST 5 GAMES

BUF OTT
RECORD 3-2-0 0-4-1
GOALS FOR 16 7
GOALS AGAINST 16 20
PP 6/17 (35.3%) 0/15 (0.0%)
PK 13/17 (76.5%) 8/14 (57.1%)

THREE KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

Develop an “us against the World” mentality-  Everyone outside the dressing room has given up on this season.  Its time for the leaders to step up and lead this team to show it still has some pride in its play.

Special Teams – Haven’t been very special lately.  Buffalo’s power play is on fire, and taking penalties against this club the way the PK is going is suicide.

Don’t check out early – Both teams are playing their last game heading into the All-Star break, which is traditionally a trap game.  Getaway plans have been made, but whichever team realizes that there is still a game to play tonight will walk out with the two points.

Check back here at SenShot for a complete post-game wrap-up.

You can follow me on Twitter @alfieisgod.

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