Fresh off a big win (and by shootout no less) over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Ottawa Senators get right back at it with the first half of a home and home that they should, and need to, sweep.
First Niagara Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
Ottawa actually won a shootout game, for the first time this season, Monday night against Philadelphia by a score of 5-4. Buffalo lost 3-2 to the Canadiens on Sunday night.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Clarke MacArthur, OTT – A former Sabres draft pick, MacArthur spent parts of 4 seasons and almost 200 games in a Buffalo jersey. MacArthur has been the Senators most consistent player this season, and leads the team by far with a +12 rating.
Matt Moulson, BUF – Acquired in a blockbuster deal for Thomas Vanek, Moulson arrived in Buffalo and is the third leading scorer on the team, with 11 points in 17 games with the Sabres. The deal didn’t have much of a positive effect on either club, as they are the two worst clubs in the league at the moment.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Can They FINALLY Start A Streak? – The trend for Ottawa this season is to have a win followed by a loss or two. They need to build on the win against the Flyers and get 2 points against the teams they should beat, like the Sabres.
2. Matchups – Both teams allow over 3 goals per game, but the big difference is that Ottawa is scoring at just under 3, while the Sabres are dead last by a wide margin, scoring just 1.6 goals per game. Buffalo goaltending can steal a game however, and in order for the team to win, they have to.
3. “3” is key – in 31 games so far the Senators have allowed 3 or more goals 17 times. Last season they allowed 3 or more 16 times in 48 games. They need to keep the Sabres under 3, which shouldn’t be that difficult because they have only got to 3 seven times in 30 games this season.
Some good things happened against the Flyers, and that is something that the Senators can build on. The players they need to score points are scoring points and some of them are coming out of big slumps that have lasted weeks, if not the entire season. There is still some shoring up to do defensively, but the team shows some signs of waking up.