Buffalo Sabres Game Day: Sabres Look To Bounce Back Up In Ottawa

The Buffalo Sabres might be getting an early Christmas present tonight as they try to snap a two-game losing streak . . . .

In case you just emerged from your cave, prehistoric carbon-based lifeform that you are, here is your Buffalo Sabres update for the day: there is a damn good chance that Jack Eichel might suit up for the Sabres tonight.

For the rest of us, that tidbit of information has been kicking around in our brains for the past 24 hours, creating all sorts of internal conflict within us.  Are the Sabres and Jack Eichel rushing his return?  Or is Eichel truly 100% and ready to help his team get back into the habit of winning games?

Ready or not, we will get our answer tonight, when the Sabres invade the Canadian Tire Center tonight to face the Ottawa Senators.  Here are Three Ways Not To Blow for our Buffalo Sabres!

1. Walk Into The Light

Whether or not Eichel plays tonight, the light at the end of the tunnel is staring Sabres’ players right in their faces.  According to John Vogel over at The Buffalo News, “There was lightness on the ice, more smiles in the dressing room” during and after Monday’s practice, so even if Eichel cannot play just yet, his teammates know he will return soon.  That excitement needs to cause a few players to over-achieve against the Senators, especially if the Sabres coaching staff decides that Eichel’s 2016-17 debut will have to wait.

2. Be on the winning side of the special teams battle

Again, whether or not Eichel plays will go a long way toward determining how well the Sabres fare in this respect, but the Sabres actually own the NHL’s 11th-best power play, scoring on 20% of their man advantages.  Unfortunately, the Sabres are ranked 20th in the league when it comes to killing off penalties, so the Sabres need to have a game that more closely resembles last Monday’s game against Calgary, when the team scored three times on the power play, and less like Friday’s tilt against Washington, when Buffalo was oh-fer on the power play and committed four penalties of their own, resulting in one PP goal for the Caps.

3. Get some help from the blueline

The Buffalo Sabres’ defense has to be on track to set some kind of record – something along the lines of Least Offensive Defense in the NHL.  The Sabres best scoring defenseman is Rasmus Ristolainen, who has 9 points and no goals.   Behind Risto?  Cody Franson, with 6 points and the Sabres lone goal by a blueliner.  Rounding out the scoring on the Sabres blueline are Taylor Fedun (0-4-4) and Jake McCabe (0-3-3) – yeesh.  Add it all up, and you have an anemic 22 points and 1 goal produced by the Sabres defensive corps.   You certainly cannot blame Buffalo’s inability to get pucks in the back of the net on its blueliners, but they sure as hell ain’t helping matters!

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Tonight’s game is scheduled to start at 7:30 – make sure you get your picks in our Fan Chatter post published before the puck drops!  Go Buffalo!

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