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Preview: Someone Has to Win

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Sabres and Senators have had a hard time finding wins, but somebody has to win tonight

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #31

Buffalo Sabres (7-17-6) vs. Ottawa Senators (9-12-7)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | Key Bank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Senators blog: Silver Seven

What to Watch

1. The breakup

Jack Eichel and Evander Kane will be split up at least to start the game tonight. The two have played together for the vast majority of the season. Head coach Phil Housley may be looking to spread the scoring around by breaking up the duo.

2. Rodrigues getting some love.

Evan Rodrigues has played really well since being recalled. He scored two goals against the Blues on Sunday. Tonight he’ll get a good opportunity by skating between Kane and Sam Reinhart.

3. Robin Lehner is hot.

Robin Lehner has played very well for about a week now, but isn’t getting the wins to show for it. In his last three starts he has a .939 save percentage and has faced an average of 44 shots a game over that stretch. Yet he only has one win to show for it.

Know Your Opponent

1. Karlsson Drama

Unless you’ve been living under a hockey rock. You’ve heard about the drama surrounding the Senators franchise cornerstone Erik Karlsson. After saying he was not taking a home town discount when his contract is up in 2019, his name has surfaced in some trade chatter.

2. Struggle is real.

We’ve watched the Sabres struggle to find wins this season. Well, so have the Ottawa Senators. They come into tonight losers of 11 of their last 12 games. They just wrapped up a West Coast trip in which they lost their last four games by a combined score of 17-3.

3. Where’s Matt Duchene?

Talk about your all time back fire. The Duchene trade has not gone well in any way for the Sens. He has two goals and four points in 14 games since joining the club. He had 10 points in 14 games with the Avalanche before the trade. Meanwhile Kyle Turris has 13 points in 14 games for the surging Nashville Predators.

Projected Lineup

67 Benoit Pouliot - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

9 Evander Kane - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 23 Sam Reinhart

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo

20 Scott Wilson - 22 Johan Larsson - 17 Jordan Nolan

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

19 Jake McCabe - 47 Zach Bogosian

41 Justin Falk - 4 Josh Gorges

Starting Goaltender: 40 Robin Lehner