Buffalo Sabres (7-22-2) at Ottawa Senators (12-14-6)
|Date & Time||Thursday December 12, 2013, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Ottawa Senators -173 / Buffalo Sabres +157 --- Over/Under: 5
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This season hasn't gotten off to quite the start the Ottawa Senators were expecting and it got worse on Tuesday night in Buffalo. The Senators are 12-14-6 on the year and have lost three of their last four games, including the first game of this home and home match up with the Sabres. Milan Michalek gave the Senators a 1-0 lead in the first period with his fifth goal of the season but the Senators were unable to build on the lead and it ultimately cost them. Zemgus Girgensons evened the score for the Sabres with his third goal of the year in a second period that saw Buffalo outshoot Ottawa 18-9. It's no surprise that this one went to the 10th round of a shootout between two clubs that can't find the back of the net. Each team kept matching goals and with it tied 3-3 in the shootout finally it was Girgensons who scored the game winner. Ryan Miller improved to 6-16-0 on the year with the victory but the record is not indicitive of his play. Miller has been the best player on the ice most nights for the Sabres but at least the club in front of him is showing a little bit of fight these days. The Sabres are still devoid of talent and right now it's all about moving forward and finding some young pieces that can be a part of the solution in the future.
Ottawa needs to get back to playing the type of fast paced, hard nosed hockey that led them to overachieve the past few years. Perhaps the problem is that teams aren't looking past the Senators these days, and that's something that Ottawa should take pride in. Paul MacLean has done a great job getting this hockey team to be a very hard working club but this season has really been a struggle. Losing games like the one on Tuesday night to the worst team in hockey isn't the way back to the post season for the Senators. Ottawa is too good in my opinion to keep playing this way for the remainder of the season but the longer this type of play goes on the easier it is for the players to lose faith. With games against the Kings and Blues coming up this one on Thursday night is even bigger for Ottawa. Look for them to bounce back here.