NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 15 (All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (12-12-5) at Buffalo Sabres (12-16-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators will try to post consecutive wins for the first time under Dave Cameron when they visit the still surging Buffalo Sabres in Monday's Atlantic Division clash at First Niagara Center.
The Senators lost their first game with Cameron behind the bench, dropping a 5-3 decision to the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Ottawa was able to get its new head coach his first NHL victory on Saturday, however, as the Sens kicked off a three-game road trip with a shootout win in Boston.
Cameron took over the reins for the fired Paul MacLean last week after Ottawa began the season with a mediocre 11-11-5 record. Saturday's 3-2 win was the club's second victory in three games after going through an 0-4-1 drought from Nov. 28-Dec. 6.
Bobby Ryan scored the shootout winner Saturday, while Mika Zibanejad and David Legwand provided the regulation scores for the Senators. Legwand knotted the score at 2-2 with a power-play tally at the 4:17 mark of the third period.
Robin Lehner made 29 saves through regulation and overtime for the Sens and stopped two of three attempts in the shootout.
In the third round of the shootout with the teams tied at one goal each, Lehner made a sprawling save to deny Patrice Bergeron's bid, and Ryan beat Rask by going to his forehand for the game-winner.
"You know, you're in the business of winning," Cameron said. "It's a case where you're preaching a certain style of play and [until you] get that win, there's probably always a bit of doubt or maybe a little bit of gray area whether it works or doesn't work. So it was great to get the win for sure."
Ottawa halted a four-game road skid and improved to 6-8-2 as the guest this season. The Sens will cap their current swing Wednesday in New Jersey.
Lehner will get the call in net again tonight. He is 0-1-1 with a 2.45 GAA in his career against Buffalo.
The Sabres continued their recent hot play with an overtime win Saturday against the Florida Panthers and they hope to cap a four-game homestand with a perfect record tonight.
Buffalo, which began the season with a 3-13-2 record, has been firing on all cylinders lately, going 9-3-0 over its past 12 games. The Sabres secured their third three-game winning streak of that stretch with Saturday's 4-3 victory.
Nikita Zadorov played the OT hero against the Panthers, scoring his first goal of the season just 29 seconds into the extra session to improve Buffalo's home record to 8-7-2. Zadorov took a feed from Tyler Ennis before wristing the puck past Al Montoya to end the game.
Brian Gionta's third-period goal tied the game for the Sabres and ended a run of three straight Panthers goals. Buffalo grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period before allowing Florida to rally and eventually take a one-goal advantage.
Buffalo also got goals from Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno, while Jhonas Enroth made 25 saves in the win. Hodgson, who led the Sabres with 44 points last season, was back in the lineup after being made a healthy scratch for Thursday's game against Calgary.
"It's nice to get on the board offensively, but more important to be part of the team and be on the ice," Hodgson said.
The Sabres won Saturday despite finishing the game with just four defenseman after blueliners Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros left with injuries in the second period. Both players are expected to miss tonight's game.
Ted Nolan could roll with Enroth in net tonight. He is 6-1-0 over his last seven starts and owns a 3-2-1 record and 2.60 GAA in six career games against Ottawa. However, backup Michal Neuvirth could get the call in either tonight's test or tomorrow's tilt in Winnipeg. Neuvirth is 4-1-1 with a 1.85 GAA against the Senators.
Tonight's game marks the first of four meetings between the Sabres and Sens this season. Ottawa has won two straight, three of four and nine of the past 12 encounters overall, but Buffalo has claimed two of three in Western New York.
12/15 10:32:00 ET