Sabres-Senators Preview

Aside from last week’s win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Ottawa
Senators haven’t been able to get things going offensively of
late.

Another matchup against Buffalo could help them do just
that.

The Senators look to take advantage of the visiting Sabres’
defensive woes again as these Northeast Division rivals square off
Tuesday night.

Ottawa averaged 3.4 goals in opening 5-1-1 but has since been
outscored 10-7 during a 1-3-1 stretch, with its only win coming 4-3
at home over last-place Buffalo (5-7-1) last Tuesday.

The Senators, who rank near the bottom of the league with 39
power-play opportunities, saw their struggles continue Saturday in
a 1-0 loss to Winnipeg. Ben Bishop made 36 saves, but Ottawa
(6-4-2) went 0 for 3 on the power play for the second consecutive
game.

“Collectively, we have to come together and find a way to create
offense, put pucks and bodies at the net, and gain more offensive
zone time. I have to do a better job of that myself,” said Kyle
Turris, who leads the team with 10 points. “We know we can do a lot
better, we just have to do it more consistently.”

Milan Michalek, who has one assist over the last six games,
shared the same sentiment.

“We have to put the pucks to the net more and be in front,” he
told the team’s official website. “That’s how goals are scored now.
We haven’t been doing that. We have to get back to the basics.”

So do the Sabres, but on the opposite end of the ice. Buffalo
has given up an NHL-high 46 goals and is among the worst in the
league in allowing 34.1 shots per game.

Defenseman Robyn Regehr’s return from a seven-game absence due
to a lower-body injury didn’t help much in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to
Boston. Tyler Ennis scored for the third time in four games and
Ryan Miller stopped 36 of 38 shots, dropping to 5-5-1 with a 2.97
goals-against average.

“We’re spending too much time in our own zone defensively, we
have to tighten things up there,” Regehr said. “We can’t keep
allowing 35-plus shots a game here, there’s just too many chances
against.”

In addition to its defensive troubles, Buffalo has gone 1 for 23
on the power play while losing four of six.

“Our power play has to be a little bit better,” said captain
Jason Pominville, who’s gone pointless in a season-high three
straight games. “We had a tough time getting set up (Sunday), so
that’s an area where we have to improve on.”

Pominville could have a hard time getting on track against Craig
Anderson, who is 6-2-2 with a league-low 1.49 GAA. Anderson,
though, has allowed three goals in back-to-back starts after
yielding two or fewer in each of his first eight.

Anderson made 20 saves against the Sabres last week to earn his
fourth consecutive win in this series. He helped hold Thomas Vanek,
who leads the NHL with 23 points, off the stat sheet. Vanek’s only
other pointless effort came Sunday.

Miller had surrendered four goals in five consecutive games
before yielding two in each of his last two. Miller, who didn’t
face Ottawa last Tuesday, is 6-2-1 with a 2.07 GAA in his last nine
games against the Senators.

The Sabres had won six of seven at Ottawa before coming up short
last week.