Ottawa Senators (45-28-15) at Buffalo Sabres (23-51-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 8, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Buffalo Sabres / Ottawa Senators --- Over/Under:
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The Senators and Sabres meet up in Buffalo on Thursday night as each team plays in their season opener.
The Senators enter the season looking to build on last year's magical run to the Eastern Conference playoffs but this time around the expectations for the group are much higher and now they will have to live up to them as opposed to playing with house money. The Sens are a young group led by Bobby Ryan, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad and Mike Hoffman up front and Erik Karlsson on the blue line but they aren't short of talent and they are more than capable of getting back to the postseason despite playing in a competitive Atlantic division. The biggest question mark will be who starts in goal for the Sens as Craig Anderson is the clear number one but Andrew Hammond became a folk hero last year and the fans may call for him if Anderson struggles in the early going and Hammond will have to answer the bell as the team let go of Robin Lehner who they will see in this one as he is now starting for the Sabres.
Buffalo had a miserable season last year but came in with that expectation as are in a full blown rebuild and that is now centered around the development of Jack Eichel. The Sabres brought in some other pieces including nabbing Ryan O'Reilly from the Colorado Avalanche and if he can continue to produce offensively in his new uniform it would go a long way in speeding up the rebuilding process in Buffalo. The Sabres also have Evander Kane in the lineup for the first time as he was traded from the Winnipeg Jets at last year's trade deadline but was sidelined with an injury but his presence will give the Sabres another scoring touch and another offensive weapon to go alongside Eichel, O'Reilly, Matt Moulson, Sam Reinhart, and Zemgus Girgensons. The Sabres have some question marks at the back end and we're not quite sure which Robin Lehner will show up but in this circumstance I think it's a great a spot for the home side as there will be a buzz in the arena and I think the new pieces start strong with a win against the Sens.