Buffalo at Ottawa
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Monday, December 29, 2014
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
The Buffalo Sabres have not participated in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2011 and while that streak doesn't appear to be in jeopardy this season, they are showing signs that it won't be much longer before it ends. Buffalo, which visits the Ottawa Senators on Monday, snapped a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) with a 4-3 shootout victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday after overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the third period for only the second time in franchise history. “That was a heck of a comeback,” Sabres forward Drew Stafford told reporters after recording two assists. “It just goes to show you the type of character we have in this room - a no-quit attitude ... we might've folded up shop, but it’s not so anymore.”
Ottawa fell 3-2 to Detroit in overtime for its third straight loss and is 3-3-2 since Dave Cameron took over as coach after Paul MacLean was fired Dec. 8. The Senators are seven points out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and while they receive solid goaltending, they must improve offensively (2.5 goals per game) if they are to get over the hump. "There's things that we still need to work on but we're moving in the right direction and that's our focus to get more offensive chances and limiting the chances in the defensive zone," Ottawa right wing Erik Condra told reporters before the Christmas break.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG Buffalo; TSN5, Bell TV, RDSI (Ottawa)
ABOUT THE SABRES (14-19-3): While Buffalo is beginning to protect its home ice (10-8-2, 7-1-0 in its last eight games), the Sabres must improve on their 4-11-1 road record to become a postseason contender. The Sabres have a pair of hot players in Chris Stewart and rookie Nicolas Deslauriers, who have scored in two consecutive games while Stewart has collected a point in four straight contests. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is one of six regulars out of the lineup because of illness or injury after leaving Saturday's game with the flu as coach Ted Nolan said he would likely call up a defenseman Monday to replace him.
ABOUT THE SENATORS (14-14-7): Ottawa has a balanced scoring attack with nine players scoring at least six goals, with captain Erik Karlsson accounting for seven and sharing the team lead with 23 points. The 2012 Norris Trophy winner, though, is a team-worst minus-13 and has been the poster boy for the Senators' inconsistent play on defense. Craig Anderson (8-9-5, 2.43 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) continues to be a stabilizing force.
1. Buffalo G Jhonas Enroth (11-11-2, 3.04, .912) is 5-0 in shootouts this season.
2. Ottawa LW Mike Hoffman is a team-best plus-14 and leads the Senators with 11 goals, including three in the last four games.
3. Buffalo defeated Ottawa 5-4 on Dec. 15 as Brian Flynn tied the game late in regulation and Matt Moulson scored the only goal in the shootout.
PREDICTION: Senators 3, Sabres 2
Stats and Records