Rested Sabres take on slumping Sens


The Buffalo Sabres will attempt to pick up two crucial points and their second consecutive victory as they host their Northeast Division rivals, the Ottawa Senators at the First Niagara Center this afternoon.

The Sabres are coming off one of their better performances as of late when they defeated the New York Rangers 3-1 on Tuesday. Marcus Foligno led the way with a pair of goals and Jhonas Enroth picked up his first victory since November 26th, 2011 as Buffalo grabbed a win.

The Ottawa Senators, on the other hand, are in a bit of a slump, losing six out of their last seven contests. They did however gather a point in each of their last two outings, losing to the Boston Bruins 3-2 and the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in shootouts.

Even though the Senators are leading the league with an impressive 2.0 goals against, top goaltender Craig Anderson has been missed after suffering an ankle injury. Anderson is leading the way in the NHL with a stellar 1.49 goals against average and a .952 save percentage.

As much as the Senators would like Anderson to be between the pipes, look for backup Ben Bishop to get the start in goal. Other noteable injuries that the Senators are dealing with are Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. The three players have only played a combined 34 games while still accounting for 10 goals and 25 points.

While the Sabres also learned of some bad news with Alexander Sulzer out for the remainder of the season with ACL surgery, they will be getting some new faces back in the line up. Ville Leino will make his first start of the season after missing the first 27 games with a hip injury. Tyler Ennis is expected back after missing a game with a head injury and Ryan Miller is expected to be back in net after sitting out one game with a sinus infection.

A potential game changing battle to look for this afternoon will be the Sabres power play (ranked last in the league), against the Senators penalty killing (ranked second in the league). The power play for Buffalo has been showing a little life as of late, but they still have only managed a disappointing 11 goals out of 98 chances. Being on the outside looking in at a playoff birth, getting the powerplay rolling would go along way in increasing their chances of being in the top eight when the regular season ends.

Today’s matchup is the third of four this season with the Senators winning the first two at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa by counts of 4-3, and a shutout victory for Craig Anderson, 2-0. With a victory, the Sabres could pull to within seven points of the Senators and five points of the 8th placed Winnipeg Jets.

The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start and can be seen on MSG.

Richard Gutowski
Richard Gutowski
Rich Gutowski lives in Corfu, NY and has been following the Sabres for over thirty years. Favorite Sabres by decade: 1970s-Gilbert Perreault 1980s- Dave Andreychuk 1990s-Brad May 2000s-Thomas Vanek 2010s- high hopes for Marcus Foligno
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