The Buffalo Sabres need to figure out how to find twine tonight as they face a high-scoring Ottawa Senators team in Game 7 of the regular season.
Following a rough outing last night to close out the four-game homestand, the Buffalo Sabres will head north of the border to face the Ottawa Senators. Having scored 21 goals against opponents this season in just five games, the Sens are no joke. And when you look at the fact they have only allowed 15, you may get the impression that Ottawa is one of the league’s better teams.
However, this group is much more manageable for the Sabres than you may think. The Sens boast one of the league’s best power plays, converting 22.73 percent when on the man advantage. Therefore, the Sabres MUST stay out of the penalty box if they want to maximize their chances of winning, despite owning one of the league’s best penalty kill units.
While the Blue and Gold have struggled on the man advantage, the Sens have one of the league’s worst PK units, whose success rate sits at just 76.19 percent. Ottawa also isn’t very good at 5-on-5 in many instances, meaning if the Sabres play a better game in the situation, they can score their first road W of the year.
Buffalo Sabres have enough talent to outduel Ottawa at 5-on-5
The Senators may be shooting at just over 11 percent with a PDO of 102.4, but their 0.913 save percentage is substantially weaker than what the Sabres have dealt with nearly all season. Further, roughly only two-thirds of Ottawa’s goals have come at 5-on-5, and seven of them (or one-third) occurred on high-danger chances.
So how do the Blue and Gold stop this team tonight? Stay out of the box, clog up passing lanes, get a stick on the puck, and get in front of shooting lanes – especially when playing a 5-on-5 game.
Oh, and they also need to do what they couldn’t do last night – make sure they get in front of and crash the net when in the offensive zone. The Sabres proved to themselves that the method works just a few days ago vs. the New York Islanders.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)