The Buffalo Sabres don’t just need a win, they need a morale boost. Oh look, here come the Ottawa Senators a team that if the Sabres beat will make them feel loads better, but if Buffalo loses…look out. Buffalo comes into tonight’s contest 2-0 against Ottawa this season but the Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 and only lead the Sens in the standings by two points.
Buffalo is coming off a brutal defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. They surrendered 2 shorthanded goals en route to a 4-1 drubbing. Jhonas Enroth was the losing goaltender for the first time since December 2nd against Detroit.
Both teams are plummeting in the standings as Ottawa has been abysmal in recent games as well. The Senators are led by Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson. They suffer from a lack of organizational depth and recently sent Nikita Filatov to the KHL which further depleted their farm system.
The Sabres on the other had have been playing with a team full of rookies. Brayden McNabb, Luke Adam, Zack Kassian, Paul Szczechura, Matt Ellis, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Corey Tropp and Colin Stuart were all either call-ups or players thrust into larger than projected roles with the Sabres.
Buffalo is beginning to get healthy. Paul Gaustad, Mike Weber, Jochen Hecht and Patrick Kaleta are expected back soon. Nathan Gerbe and Corey Tropp are making progress and Tyler Myers is beginning to work out on the ice.
The Sabres will still be expecting big things out of their younger players. Their veterans, who started the season scorching hot, have cooled down recently. Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville are not producing at the pace they began the season. This has started to affect Buffalo’s power play.
Ottawa is coming off a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, a game in which Craig Anderson was the starter. Buffalo could see Alex Auld for the second time this season.Buffalo is likely to start Ryan Miller after the rough start for Enroth.
Gametime is set for 7:00 PM eastern at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.