After what can only be described as a huge disappointment on Tuesday, the Senators will have a chance to redeem themselves tonight. Tuesday night’s game could definitely be considered embarrassing for the Senators. The only statistical categories they were leading by the end of the game were faceoffs, (and that was only by 2), and giveaways. The Sabres led in takeaways, and blocked shots. They also led in hits, but that just indicates that they didn’t have possession of the puck as much as Ottawa (hey! A positive!). But the worst, was shots. The Senators weren’t outshot, but the shots were even at 36 apiece. That is not good. The Senators are ranked 3rd in the NHL in shots for, while the Sabres are ranked 29th.
(7-22-2, 16 points) 8th Atlantic Division
Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet, Radio: TSN1200
The Senators have split a two game series so far this season, with the Senators winning the first by a score of 1-0 in their season opener, and the Sabres winning the last game, which came Tuesday night in a shootout. Tuesday was each team’s latest game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bobby Ryan, OTT – I’d say that he sometimes has off games, but that’s just because everyone has such high expectations for him. Even in games where he’s kept off the score sheet, he still has a few great chances every game. Watch for him to score, and even if he doesn’t, he’ll come close a few times.
Zemgus Girgensons, BUF – Not very original to choose the Sabres’ best player (besides Ryan Miller), but he could be an issue for the Senators again if they don’t pay close attention to him.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Points in the Last Three - The Senators have gotten at least a point in their last 3 games (all went to the shootout). It could be the start of a turning point in the season, but if it is, they’ll have to start winning, not just losing in extra time.
2. Shootout=fixed? - I know I just said that they need to start winning, but things have looked much better in the shootout recently. They scored 3 goals in the shootout on Tuesdy, although that was on 10 shots. Still, everyone should have a bit more confidence than they had about a week ago.
3. Must Win - This game should be seen as a must win. If they can’t beat the Sabres at least once in two games, maybe we should start getting worried. This is a team whose point total wasn’t even half of the number of games they played.
Because the game on Tuesday was so close, people don’t realize how much the Senators have to improve if they don’t want to only be able to beat the Sabres (and they couldn’t even pull that off). If you want to beat other teams, you’re going to have to dominate the Sabres. Miller can win games for them, but by looking at their record, he hasn’t done that too often. Hopefully the Senators can put more than just one puck by him, and hopefully we’ll never have to rely on Erik Condra in the shootout again.