Game Day: Ottawa Senators @ Buffalo Sabres

Friday, November 11, 2011: 7:30 pm, Sportsnet, Team 1200

T-9th East (7-8-1)VST-6th East (9-5-0)

For the second time in less than one week, division rival Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres will be locking horns Friday night.  Buffalo defeated Ottawa 3-2 in a shootout last Saturday night at Scotiabank Place.  The scene for this one shifts to HSBC arena in Buffalo as the Senators look to get off to a good start on their longest road trip of the season, that continues Saturday in Toronto before heading to Western Canada for 3 stops.

On 11/11/11, the captain, Daniel Alfredsson, will be in the spotlight as he returns from his concussion after missing 5 games due to Wojtek Wolski‘s errant elbow.   Chris Neil injured his ankle and will come out of the lineup for this game, and Alfredsson for Neil looks to be the only lineup change from Wednesday’s loss to the Rangers.

Craig Anderson will be in the Ottawa net, but it is unconfirmed at this time who will be guarding the Buffalo goal.  Jhonas Enroth beat the Senators last week and has been getting more action as of late as Ryan Miller has struggled.  Miller played the last game for Buffalo and won, but allowed 5 goals to the Jets in the process.

The streaky Senators have lost the last 4 games (with the lone point they have earned coming in the shootout loss to Buffalo) after winning 6 in a row.  The Sabres beat the Jets on Tuesday night on the back of going 4 for 12 on the power play.  Buffalo is one of only 3 teams to be in the top 10 in power play (9th) and penalty killing (2nd).  Vancouver and Pittsburgh are the others.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

OTT – Daniel Alfredsson – The Captain has 81 points in 80 career games vs Buffalo, including some of his most memorable moments in a Senators uniform.  It was just over 1 year ago (Oct. 23, 2010) that Alfredsson scored a hat trick for his 1,000th career point in an Ottawa win over the Sabres in the same building that he will make his return to action.  #11 is poised to shine on 11/11/11.

BUF – Derek Roy – The Rockland native always seems to save his best efforts for games against his hometown team.  He has gotten off to a slow start, but he scored a goal in regulation and then netted the shootout winner against the Senators last week.

Senators Projected Lineup

Greening – Spezza – Michalek

Alfredsson – Da Costa – Foligno

Daugavins – Smith – Condra

Konopka – Winchester – Butler

Karlsson – Kuba

Phillips – Rundblad

Cowen – Gonchar

Anderson

Auld

3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

1. Keep your head in the Game – Two mental mistakes in the second period by Gonchar and Rundblad led directly to NYR goals after Ottawa had worked hard to take the lead.  Focusing for 60 minutes is paramount whe you don’t have the talent of your opponent.

2. Avoid the Special Teams game – Ottawa’s penalty killing is atrocious at the moment, and the power play has struggled but is still ranked 4th.  As mentioned earlier, Buffalo is in the top 10 in both PP and PK rankings.

3.  Keep it close – The longer the Senators are in games, the better the chance they can come away with a victory.  Huge comebacks are the exception rather than the rule, but to be within a goal down to the wire gives them a chance.

Check back after the game for a recap of all the action.

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