Buffalo Sabres (6-0-2, 14PTS) vs. Ottawa Senators (2-5-1, 5PTS)
7:00 PM EST, HSBC Arena
TV: MSG-B (Buffalo), NHLN-US - NHLN-C (National)
Radio: WGR 550 (Buffalo), XM-205 (National)
This is a story of two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Sabres have not lost a game in regulation and the Sens have been struggling to say the least. It seems like we had this same scenario two season sago in mid-November. The Sens were struggling while the Sabres were the best team in hockey, the Sens beat the Sabres at the HSBC Arena and it was the beginning of a turnaround for the Sens. As the season played out the Sabres won the Presidents Trophy but eventually lost to the Sens in the Eastern Conference Finals, let's hope history doesn't repeat itself.
If you only look at the records the game will seem like a cake walk for the Sabres but reality is much different. Both teams are near the top of the league in both power play and penalty killing so this game will come down to 5-on-5. The Sabres have not been great 5-on-5 but they have improved lately. The Sens have not been good 5-on-5 and it seems the main reason is goaltending. The Sens are a minus nine when playing at even stregnth this season.
The Sens have not received very good goaltending so far this season but with Martin Gerber injured it is likely that Alex Auld will be in net for the Sens. Auld was outastanding, no amazing, no miraculous against the Sabres last season. If the Sabres think they are going to go out and win easily over the Sens they will not like the results. I don't expect they will overlook a so far under-achieving team from Ottawa.
Although some of the players have moved on, many of the same players remain from the teams that didn't like each other much a couple od seasons ago. These two teams have a history of close playoff series and even some bad blood.
I know Chris Drury isn't in Buffalo anymore but if you are having trouble getting excited for this game just watch the video below.
Now that you're blood is pumping...we'll see you tonight in the open game thread.