GDT#69: SABRES (31-29-8) at SENATORS (36-25-8) – SAT MAR 10 – 7:00PM ET – MSG-B, CBC (Full Story)
(AP) – Using a pair of unproven goaltenders until Craig Anderson returns from a finger injury, the Ottawa Senators
knew they would have to raise their play offensively to maintain their playoff position.
Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek have done just that as they try to lead the Senators to a third straight victory as they
host the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
The Senators (36-25-8) are 9-3-1 in their last 13 games following a 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers on
Thursday night. Four players scored for Ottawa, which overcame an early deficit and got 25 saves from Ben Bishop -
acquired from St. Louis before the trade deadline - in his home debut.
"Benny's played great. Last game he played real good," said Spezza, whose empty-net goal sealed the win. "You
could tell he was real calm tonight, you're always a little more comfortable playing at home and he was real big for us,
made some big saves at the right time and did a great job."
Spezza, whose 73 points lead the team, has nine goals and 13 assists during Ottawa's surge. The Senators are one
point behind New Jersey for sixth in the Eastern Conference and three back of Boston for the Northeast Division lead,
though the Devils have two games in hand on them and the Bruins have three.
Offense has been the key to the Senators' recent run, with the team scoring 51 goals in the last 13 games after being
held to nine during a seven-game losing streak preceding its turnaround. Michalek, who has a team-high 32 goals, has
contributed nine goals and nine assists during the hot streak.
"I think we've had a balanced attack all year long," coach Paul MacLean said. "The rhythm of our offense has been
pretty good where there's someone starts to go down someone gets hot, so that rhythm of our offense over the
course of the season has allowed our offense to be consistent and that's the sign of a good team and a growing team."
(Buffalo News) – Corey Tropp, like any rookie, wants to use his call-up to prove he belongs in the NHL. Sabres coach
Lindy Ruff likes what he's seen so far. Now it's up to Tropp to prove he can play an even bigger role.
Tropp skated at right wing during Buffalo's 3-1 loss to Boston on Thursday, his eighth straight game in the lineup since
being summoned from Rochester on Feb. 24. He again played alongside center Brad Boyes and left wing Matt Ellis, a
unit that has drawn rave reviews from Ruff.
Tropp is a big reason why. The 22-year-old has made the most of his recent opportunity, entering TD Garden with a
point in two of the previous three games.
"Obviously, being in a call-up situation, you're on your toes," Tropp said. "You want to work and prove that you can
play at this level. The goal is to stick around as long as possible. Every time you get that nod you try to make an
impression, and I think as each game goes on that's my mind-set going in is I continue to work.
"I'm confident in myself to where if I continue to get better each night, hopefully they see that and look at me as a guy
who can maybe play here."
Ruff sees more than a hopeful rookie. He sees a 6-foot, 183-pounder who has the toughness to play a grinding role
and the skill to eventually move up the depth chart. During the third period against the Bruins, Tropp joined the second
line, skating alongside center Cody Hodgson and left wing Tyler Ennis.
"Corey's been around a couple years now," Ruff said of the second-year pro. "He knows how hard the American
League was. He knows if you're going to compete, you've got to compete at a real high level and do it every night. He
empties the tank every shift.
VANEK QUESTIONABLE, LINES GET THE BIG SHUFFLE (Full Story)
(Buffalo News) – Thomas Vanek is questionable for Saturday night's game at Scotiabank Place against the Ottawa
Senators but coach Lindy Ruff said today there doesn't appear to be any longterm issues from the hit Vanek took
Thursday from Boston's Johnny Boychuk.
"He's doing OK. He's a little bit sore but doing OK," Ruff said at Ottawa's SensPlex practice facility. "I can't answer that
question [if Vanek will miss the game]. It all depends on how he's feeling tomorrow."
Even if Vanek plays, it appears the Sabres are going to shuffle lines after the offense's second straight one-goal game
on the road. Ruff said Tyler Ennis will move back to center with Ville Leino back on left wing. At least Friday, Cody
Hodgson -- finally getting in his first practice -- got a bump up to what was the top line. The Sabres skated only three
full lines Friday, with Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick also on the ice. They looked like this:
As for other players, McCormick appears close to being ready after suffering his second concussion last month. Patrick
Kaleta was held off the ice Friday due to maintenance but defenseman Andrej Sekera is suffering even worse flu
symptoms and won't play again tomorrow.
"He's going for more tests," Ruff said. "He's either got a real severe flu or we're trying to figure it out what it is but he's
not feeling well."
BIG HITS, BIG MINUTES HAVE RETURNED FOR COWEN (Full Story)
(Ottawa Citizen) – At the tail end of Ottawa Senators practice Friday, rookie defenceman Jared Cowen was receiving
one-on-one attention from power skating instructor Mark Power, fine-tuning small details of his stride and edges.
“You like to keep up on things and keep working and there’s always little things you feel you can improve on with your
skating,” said Cowen, who played a pivotal role in the Senators 4-1 win over the Eastern Conference leading New York
Rangers on Thursday. The Senators will carry the confidence of that victory into Saturday’s game at Scotiabank Place
against the Buffalo Sabres, who are in the midst of the desperate battle to earn the final playoff spot in the Eastern
Cowen’s extra work serves as a message for all young prospects, regardless of their role.
Cowen is, after all, the polar opposite of Erik Karlsson. While he has five goals and 11 assists, he’s not about offensive
statistics. Rather, he’s about keeping opponents from putting up numbers. He’s at his best when he’s in the middle of
the action physically, killing off penalties and clearing bodies from around his own net. As was the case against the
In an early collision between linebacker-sized players, the 6-5, 230-pound Cowen hit Brian Boyle, the Rangers 6-7,
244-pound monster, one of five hits Cowen was credited with. Only seconds after the collision, Zack Smith scored for
the Senators, tying the game 1-1. The Senators never trailed again, giving rise to suggestions that the hit was a
“I thought he was a force,” coach Paul MacLean said following the game. “He used his size and body to separate
people from the puck defensively. He really did a good job against their (board) game behind the net. Jared is certainly
well on his way back to being the player that we want.”
Cody McCormick (healthy) and Andrej Sekera (flu) were scratched in Buffalo's last game, a 3-1 loss to Boston on
Thursday. Jochen Hecht (concussion) also missed Thursday's game in Boston and remains on LTIR with his injury.
Thomas Vanek (upper body) left Thursday's game after taking a hit from Johnny Boychuk in the third period and is
questionable for Saturday's game. Buffalo will start Ryan Miller in goal against Ottawa on Saturday night.
Buffalo recalled Marcus Foligno from AHL/Rochester on Monday and returned him Tuesday. Foligno was recalled again
on an emergency basis on Friday to cover for Vanek's injury.
According to the Stats
Buffalo are: 26-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals; 22-4-3 when scoring three or more; 18-4-5 when Derek Roy
records a point; 17-4-1 when Christian Ehrhoff records a point; 9-1-3 when Tyler Ennis records a point; 9-5-4 against
the Northeast Division; and 7-2-1 in their last ten games.
Ryan Miller is 7-1-1 in his last nine games with a .949 save percentage and a 1.65 goals against average, and 12-3-3
in his last 18 games with a 1.84 goals against average and a .939 save percentage.
Above, LW2 is #36 Rob Klinkhammer, RD3 is #97 Matt Gilroy and G1 is #30 Ben Bishop. Bobby Butler, Matt Carkner
and Zenon Konopka were healthy scratches in Ottawa's last game, a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Craig Anderson (finger), Peter Regin (shoulder) and Jesse Winchester (concussion) also missed Thursday's game in
Ottawa. Anderson and Winchester remain out indefinitely, while Regin's sidelined for the remainder of the season. The
Senators will start Ben Bishop in goal against the Sabres on Saturday night.
Ottawa returned Robin Lehner to AHL/Binghamton Monday, recalling Ben Bishop to replace him in goal.
According to the Stats
Ottawa are: 7-3-0 in their last ten games.
Ben Bishop is 2-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .926 save percentage since joining the Senators.
It's very simple. Beat Ottawa. Montreal comes in Monday after west coast trip and then you Get Colorado. A three-gam win streak is doable but this game will require 60 minutes and our goalie to be better. Need a PP marker too and few if any penalties
Settled in at the hotel and now before we depart for the pub, I edited in this information:
- Two more articles to the OP, AP preview and an Ottawa story.
- Miller vs Bishop in goal.
- Vanek's questionable; morning skate lines are in OP text (not the images).
- Marcus Foligno recalled again; possibly Foligno vs Foligno again if he dresses.
- Added the rest of the practice day A/V links:
In other player news, Andrej Sekera’s condition has actually worsened and he’s staying in Buffalo for further tests. Ruff said they are trying determine if Sekera has a severe case of the flu or something more than that.