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Sabres Head North to Face Sens

Houser gets the start as Buffalo squares off in Ottawa

Detroit Red Wings v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Ben Green/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 39

Buffalo Sabres (11-21-6) vs. Ottawa Senators (11-18-2)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM ET | Canadian Tire Centre | Ottawa, ON

TV: MSG, ESPN+

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Senators Blog: Silver Seven Sens

Know Your Opponent

Ottawa Senators

Record: 11-18-2 | 24 PTS

Last Game: 6-4 win over Edmonton

Division Ranking: 7th in Atlantic Division

PP: 20.0% (15th)

PK: 78.0% (22nd)

What to Watch

1. Roster Updates

The big news of the day is that Tage Thompson was unable to make the cross-border trip for tonight’s game, so he’s out of the lineup this evening. This is due to Ontario’s 10-day isolation requirement following a positive COVID test; Thompson entered the NHL’s protocol on January 10, so he is still in that window of time.

Vinnie Hinostroza was injured in Monday’s game and did not travel.

Enter: Brett Murray & Mark Jankowski.

Michael Houser will make his season debut in goal this evening. This gives Aaron Dell, who just made three consecutive starts, a much-needed break for the first time since he rejoined the team following injuries to Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen and Malcolm Subban.

2. Haven’t Seen You in A While

Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the Sabres and Senators since the pre-COVID era. It’s also just Buffalo’s second time in Canada this season. Due to current Ontario restrictions, there will be no fans in attendance for tonight’s game.

The last time Buffalo and Ottawa squared off was February 18, 2020, which feels like a lifetime ago. That game was a 7-4 loss for the Sabres, wherein Brandon Montour had a pair of goals, while Kyle Okposo and Victor Olofsson also notched tallies. Carter Hutton was the netminder at the time, so it’s safe to say quite a bit has changed since then.

3. Ottawa’s Home Again

Due to a combination of factors and multiple postponements, tonight’s game is Ottawa’s first at home since December 11. After six straight on the road, the Senators will get a dose of home ice advantage - but remember, no fans in the crowd - before heading back out on three-game road trip.

The Sabres and Senators reconvene in Ottawa a week from today.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

Brett Murray - Peyton Krebs - Kyle Okposo

Rasmus Asplund - Dyland Cozens - Victor Olofsson

Anders Bjork - Mark Jankowski - John Hayden

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Mattias Samuelsson - Mark Pysyk

Robert Hagg - Will Butcher

Starting Goaltender: Michael Houser

Ottawa Senators

Forwards

Brady Tkachuk - Josh Norris - Drake Batherson

Alex Formenton - Tim Stutzle - Nick Paul

Tyler Ennis - Chris Tierney - Adam Gaudette

Zach Sanford - Dylan Gambrell - Austin Watson

Defense

Thomas Chabot - Jacob Bernard-Docker

Nick Holden - Artem Zub

Erik Brannstrom - Josh Brown

Starting Goaltender: Matt Murray (expected)