The Buffalo Sabres bring one of the hottest lines in the league, but not much else, to Scotiabank Place to face the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night.
3-5-1, T-11th Eastern Conference
5-3-1, T-5th Eastern Conference
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; Radio: Team 1200
HEAD TO HEAD
These two teams always seem to play close games. Last year they met 6 times, with each team winning 3. However, 4 of the games required extra time. Buffalo win twice in a shootout, while the Senators won 1 shootout and on overtime game.
Ottawa lost a tight one in Montreal in a controversial game (they got screwed) 2-1 on Sunday, while the Sabres blew a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3 to the Florida Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Thomas Vanek , BUF– The NHL’s first star of the week has been on fire with his linemates Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville. Vanek has 19 points in just 8 games, and has been on the ice for 23 of Buffalo’s 27 goals scored (85%) this season and has to be an early consideration for MVP
Stephane Da Costa , OTT– After struggling to score goals in their past two games without Jason Spezza, the Senators summoned Da Costa from Binghamton to inject some offense to the game. Expect him to see some power play time while centering Erik Condra and Jim O’Brien.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Sabres A 1 Trick Pony? - If you can shut down Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville, you
stand and excellent chance of beating will beat the Sabres. There isn’t much offensive depth after the top trio, but they have been enough in some games this season.
2. Avoid the Pests – With the addition of Steve Ott and Marcus Foligno, the Sabres have tried to become a tougher team to play against. Ottawa can’t get caught up in their antics and must stay out of the box or see #1 above.
3. Find the Back of the Net – The Senators have struggled to score goals and that is wasting great performances from Craig Anderson. Tonight might be just what the doctor ordered, as Buffalo has struggled mightily defensively and have given up more goals than anyone except Washington (33 each) so far this season.
Ottawa is undefeated in regulation at home, with the lone blemish being the shootout loss to the Penguins. They need to get an early jump on the Buffalo defense, which has been atrocious as well as the goaltending, which has been worse. Whoever starts in net for the Sabres will not be feeling good as neither has excelled. If Ottawa can contain the Sabres top line they should win the game hands down. That is easier said than done, but you don’t want to get into a track meet with the Sabres.
Enjoy the game!