BY: DAVID KOLB
BUFFALO SABRES (7-9-5) @ OTTAWA SENATORS (14-7-1)
RIVAL GAME – EICHEL BACK
The Sabres are in Ottawa tonight to face off against the Senators. The game looks like it will mark the return of Jack Eichel, who sprained his ankle in practice the day before the season began. Eichel has missed 21 games and the Sabres are 7-9-5 during that stretch.
NO EASY FETE
The Senators have been fantastic defensively and in net, allowing only five goals in their past four games (all wins), including shutting out the New York Rangers on Sunday, 2-0 at Madison Square Garden. The Sabres have only scored a goal in each of their past four losses, however, with a healthy lineup, the Sabres could quickly become one of the NHL’s more consistent offensive teams.
LEHNER VS. OLD MATES
Former Senators goalie Robin Lehner is expected to get the start in goal for the Sabres tonight after Anders Nilsson suffered the loss Friday in Washington. Against his former club, Lehner has a 2-0-2 record with a .956 save percentage and a 1.30 goals against average.
This will be the Sabres and Senators’ third meeting this month, as Buffalo defeated the Senators 2-1 in Ottawa back on November 5. The Senators then evened the season series at one game a piece via a Senators 2-1 win Nov. 9 in Buffalo.
KARLSSON THE GREAT
Senators’ top defenseman, and leading scorer, Erik Karlsson was held off the board Sunday versus the Rangers, however, he skated an incredible 26:28 with three shots on net. Karlsson has three points in his past four games, and enters tonight’s contest with four goals and 13 assist for 17 points and is a plus-6 with an average time a ice of 27:06.