It seems that regardless of how well one of the teams in this battle is doing, it’s not necessarily that team that dominates the season series. Thankfully for the Buffalo Sabres, they have the upper hand in the recent history of games with the Ottawa Senators.
The last two Buffalo Sabres opponents, the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers came from different directions, but had one thing in mind, first place. Tonights opponent has a similar thing in mind with the Sabres, consistency and two points. Both the Sabres and Senators have only three wins in their last ten games.
Ryan Miller will likely see Ottawa for the first this season, Jhonas Enroth facing the Sens and defeating them. Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was chased in the second contest after letting two goals in on six shots in a span of less than 3 minutes.
The Senators have the offensive power to put the Sabres away early; forward Milan Michalek is tied with Phil Kessel and Steven Stamkos for the lead league in goals. The Buffalo Sabres will need its depth at defense to help their starting goaltender eliminate chances and keep the game in control. The Sabres may need to get back to that boring lifeless style of game that brought them success against the Florida Panthers, at least until thy can get healthy and return to their early season form again.
On the other end of the ice, the Buffalo Sabres need their top lines to start scoring again. While Jason Pominville has been hot of late, Lindy has been all over Thomas Vanek – it paid off in the Rangers game with a single goal, but the Sabres need their leading man to put the puck in the net on a more consistent basis. Balanced scoring will also help the Buffalo Sabres. If their rookies can continue playing with heart to prove they deserve a start in the NHL, the Sabres could be in good shape. If the rookies decide that they have already earned the roster spot, the Sabres could be seeing the wrong end of another loss.
The rookies should be looking over their shoulders, as some of the injured forwards are getting closer to returning. Defenseman Mike Weber could be back tonight, and Gaustad and Kaleta could also be back in the lineup this week.
Buffalo faces a tough schedule leading into the Christmas break, they face divisional foes Ottawa and Toronto - as well as a contest against Pittsburgh. Points are going to be at a premium in this four point contests. While the Sabres are only five points out of second place in the conference, they are only two points above Ottawa, which sits in twelth place.