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Game #73 Preview & Open Thread: Sabres vs. Senators

Jan 11, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Jack Quinn (22) looks for the puck during the first period against the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game #73

Buffalo Sabres (34-33-5) vs. Ottawa Senators (30-36-4)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM ET | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR-550

Know Your Opponent 

Ottawa Senators

Record: 30-36-4

Last Game: 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers

Division Ranking: 8th, Atlantic

PP: 17.7% (24th)

PK: 73.0% (31st)

What To Watch For

1. Quinn for the Win

Exciting lineup news for the Sabres, as forward Jack Quinn is expected to return to the lineup. Quinn underwent surgery to repair a lower-body injury on January 27 with a timeline of “around eight weeks.” Exactly two months later, he’s back in.

It’s been a hell of a season for Quinn, who previously missed the first two months of the season after tearing his Achilles in offseason training last June. He played in 17 games before suffering the second (unrelated) injury and had 12 points, including five goals.

Quinn’s presence and offensive power should help provide a spark to the Sabres, who are in an incredibly tight race for a wildcard playoff spot. He’s back on a line with JJ Peterka and Dylan Cozens, and boy, if you needed a reason to watch tonight’s game, that line itself is a great one.

2. Home, Sweet Home?

Tonight’s game is the opening of a five-game homestand for the Sabres, who have just six home games remaining in the regular season. Buffalo is 17-17-1 on home ice this season, and if you’ve been around on here or on Sabres Twitter, you likely know that it hasn’t always been a friendly place, what with the losses, the booing, and the team’s decision at one point to stop saluting the fans after wins. (The salute is back now.) As the team makes its final playoff push, these next few games are going to be key. Let’s see if the crowd at KBC can help propel the team up in the standings.

Personally, I’ll be in attendance tonight – my first game of the season. Here’s to hoping it’s a good one.

3. Streaking Sabres

Team performance aside, a few Sabres have point streaks heading into tonight’s game.

Tage Thompson is on a five-game streak, with seven points since March 16. He also has recorded at least a point in seven of his last eight games. Alex Tuch is also on a five-game point streak, with seven points in that time. JJ Peterka (3 points – all goals) and Connor Clifton (2 points) are also on two-game point streaks.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has won five of his last seven games.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards 

Jordan Greenway – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn
Jeff Skinner – Peyton Krebs – Zach Benson
Eric Robinson – Zemgus Girgensons – Victor Olofsson

Defense

Bowen Byram – Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju
Jacob Bryson – Kale Clague

Goaltenders: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (projected starter), Devon Levi

Ottawa Senators

Forwards

Brady Tkachuk – Shane Pinto – Drake Batherson
Angus Crookshank – Tim Stutzle – Claude Giroux
Dominik Kubalik – Ridly Greig – Mathieu Joseph
Boris Katchouk – Mark Kastelic – Parker Kelly

Defense

Jake Sanderson – Artem Zub
Thomas Chabot – Erik Brannstrom
Jakob Chychrun – Jacob Bernard-Docker

Goaltenders: Joonas Korpisalo (projected starter), Anton Forsberg