What is becoming a losing skid for the Ottawa Senators, they will head into the Niagara Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres, hoping to snap a recent collapse, which has Ottawa losing five of their last six.
Stopping top scorer, Thomas Vanek, will be key to a Senators victory tomorrow. Vanek also has 83 shots this season, so in the offensive zone, it isn’t a surprise for Sabres players to feed Vanek the puck. Shutting down Vanek from shooting could potentially lead Ottawa to a win.
Ottawa won both of the meetings this season, and this Northeast division battle seems more spread out in the NHL standings than it really is. Ottawa currently is losing grip in the Eastern Conference, and slowly moving down towards a non-playoff position, with three teams within striking distance of Ottawa. Buffalo is only nine points behind Ottawa right now, and all Buffalo needs is a little hot streak to catch up to the Sens to be in a playoff position.
Unsure of who will get the start tomorrow in net for Ottawa, you can’t really go wrong with either Robin Lehner or Ben Bishop. Robin Lehner did some work, facing more than 35 shots, but it was all forgotten as the Ottawa shooters couldn’t get it done in a shootout. Buffalo won their last game, by a 3-1 decision.
If Ottawa wants to get back on track and go back to their winning ways, Buffalo will be the team to start it all up again. Although Buffalo is a talented bunch, Ottawa can pull away with a victory as long as they use their assets successfully. Not letting Buffalo record more than 30 shots will let Ottawa have a solid chance of winning. Even though Buffalo isn’t at the top of the standings, they can still put a couple into the twine, and right now, Ottawa needs to do whatever they can to not have a pile of coal in the back of their net.
Scoring will also be a key factor for the Senators. The last time Ottawa scored four goals—Mar. 6 2013, which doesn’t seem bad. The time before that—Feb.5 2013. Four goals is a relatively high amount for an NHL game, but really, Ottawa needs to get four goals more than once a month. Even without their top scorers, other Senators have proved themselves in close one goal games. It’s time to open up the floodgates a little and fire away.