Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Season Outlook: Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators

When the Ottawa Senators visit the Buffalo Sabres on October 4, it’ll be a little bit of a historic moment. That game will mark the first time since November 2011 that the Sabres and Senators faced off without the involvement of former Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson.

The major storyline surrounding the Ottawa Senators is the departure of long-time Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson, and this storyline is quite relevant when looking at the upcoming season against the Sabres. Since October 2003, the Sabres and Senators have played each other 58 times. Alfredsson appeared in 54 of those games, missing just FOUR in a ten-year stretch against Buffalo.

Another storyline for you: the Senators acquisition of forward Bobby Ryan, who will play in the Eastern Conference for the first time in his NHL career. Personally, I was quite shocked when I learned that the Anaheim Ducks had traded Ryan, who had been with the organization since being drafted in 2005.  Since 2007, he’s played six games against the Sabres and has one goal, a minus-1,and 16 penalty minutes in that stretch. He’ll certainly get a lot more experience facing the Sabres with his new team going forward.

There’s also former Buffalo Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur, who joins Ottawa after spending time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since leaving the Sabres, MacArthur has 11 points in 16 games against Buffalo. (Side note: is he trying to get around the entire former Northeast Division? He’s 3/5 of the way there….)

The Senators also added Joe Corvo, veteran NHL defenseman who has previously spent time with the Senators in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Corvo has 7 points (1-6), 12 penalty minutes and 71 shots in 33 career NHL games against the Sabres.

Last season, the Senators and Sabres faced each other four times. Ottawa won three of the four games, with Buffalo winning the final meeting of the season between the teams. First, the Senators took a 4-3 victory that saw Ottawa scored three goals in the first period. Next Ottawa shut out Buffalo by a score of 2-0 with goals from Erik Karlsson and Erik Condra.  The Senators then took a 4-3 overtime win in a game that saw both Kyle Turris and Drew Stafford score a pair of goals each. Finally, Brian Flynn scored the game-winning goal in the teams’ final meeting, a 4-2 win on April 5 in Buffalo.

Even with the NHL’s realignment, the Senators and Sabres remain close. They’ll both move to the new Atlantic division and will face each other four times this coming season, including twice at each home arena. Buffalo will host the Senators on October 4 in their home opener before hosting them again on December 10. Just two days later, the teams will meet in Ottawa, with the final season meeting on February 6 in Canada’s capital.

Players to Watch

  • OTTAWA: First up: watch out for Ryan. He’s never played in the Eastern Conference before, so who knows what to expect out of him? Other than that – keep an eye on Cory Conacher, who should be up with Ottawa full-time this season. Conacher had two assists in three games against Buffalo last season. The former Canisius College player was traded to the Senators last season from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Also watch out for Erik Karlsson, who has 15 points in 18 games against Buffalo in his career; the Sabres are his most-scored-against team. Finally, I’ll highlight Kyle Turris, who has seven points in 10 career games against Buffalo.
  • BUFFALO: Defenseman Mike Weber has scored 7 points in 17 career games against the Senators; they’re one of his most-scored-against teams. Thomas Vanek has 35 points in 49 games against Ottawa, while Tyler Ennis has scored 10 points in 13 games against the Senators.

Meetings This Season

  • October 4 @ BUF
  • December 10 @ BUF
  • December 12 @ OTT
  • February 6 @ OTT

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