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Sabres Gameday: New Year’s Eve in Ottawa



The Buffalo Sabres (15-18-4) have a quick turnaround for a game against the Ottawa Senators (13-18-0) this evening. Coming off an amplifying win against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, the Sabres will look to repeat a similar performance. The Senators are the only team behind Buffalo in the Atlantic Division standings.

Where to Watch

Gametime: 6:00 p.m. ET

Location: Canadian Tire Center (Ottawa, ON)


Stream: MSG+; ESPN+ (Out-of-market)

Radio: WGR550

The Sabres

The Sabres just kept pushing and pushing yesterday as many of their quality scoring chances were coming up empty against the Blue Jackets. Ultimately, they pulled through with a win thanks to Jeff Skinner’s overtime one-timer. See the full game recap here.

The offense is heating up. Tage Thompson has five points in his last four games. Casey Mittelstadt has nine points in his last seven. Jack Quinn has three goals in five games since returning from injury.

With Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen in net against Columbus, it looks like Devon Levi is prepared to start today. We still await potential news around Eric Comrie’s status, as he continues to stick around as the third goalie despite Zemgus Girgensons ready to return from injured reserve but unable to be activated.

With Erik Johnson sitting yesterday a decision will have to be made on who to remove from the lineup to get him back in. Connor Clifton would be an easy swap, but Ryan Johnson is waivers-exempt and could help get Girgensons back in the lineup by a temporary loan to the AHL.

Head coach Don Granato missed last night’s game. Rochester Americans bench boss Seth Appert got the “call up” and seemed to keep the team in the right mindset in what could’ve turned sour quick. Appert confirmed yesterday that he’ll be back behind the Sabres bench in Ottawa today.

The Opponent

The Senators were a news hub in December, with new ownership calling out the league, bringing in Daniel Alfredsson and Jacques Martin to the organization, and consequentially firing coach D.J. Smith.

Similar to the Sabres, Ottawa was poised to breakout this season but has underperformed. Consistency throughout the lineup has been an issue, and the goaltending has not improved as expected. In fact, Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo rank 77th and 78th in goals-saved above expected out of 81 qualifying goalies, per Evolving-Hockey.

Although Martin has tried to bring some structure to their game, the Senators look to win by outscoring their defensive lapses.

Injury Report


  • Zemgus Girgensons (Lower Body) Day-to-Day [IR]


  • Mathieu Joseph (Lower Body) Day-to-Day
  • Thomas Chabot (Lower Body) Day-to-Day [IR]
  • Rourke Chartier (Upper Body) Out [IR]

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn

Jordan Greenway – Casey Mittelstadt – Zach Benson

Victor Olofsson – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo

Rasmus Dahlin – Mattias Samuelsson

Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju

Ryan Johnson – Erik Johnson

Devon Levi (Projected)


Lineup Source: PuckLuck Projected

Goalie Source: PuckLuck Projected


Ottawa Senators

Brady Tkachuk – Tim Stutzle – Drake Batherson

Vladimir Tarasenko – Josh Norris – Claude Giroux

Dominik Kubalik – Ridly Greig – Angus Crookshank

Jiri Smejkal – Mark Kastelic – Parker Kelly

Jake Sanderson – Artem Zub

Jakob Chychrun – Thomas Chabot

Erik Brannstrom – Travis Hamonic

Joonas Korpisalo (Projected)


Lineup Source: PuckLuck Projected

Goalie Source: PuckLuck Projected


Betting Breakdown

Buffalo Sabres Ottawa Senators win probability betting

The win probability for this New Year’s Eve tilt shows Ottawa as the slight favorites at home tonight. The standard win probability for a home vs. away game – all things being equal – is about 52% to 48%. This accurately reflects what are likely two even teams going at it.

After going a perfect 2-0 on suggestions in yesterday’s game preview, similar plays are in order today. The edge is on the Sabres puckline at +1.5 goals since this matchup is pretty even. It’s not a great payout right now (hovering around -180), but it’s still an edge.

The under is also strong again at 6.5, as Levi has been the best Buffalo goalie as of late. Both teams can score in bunches, but that is why it’s being offered at nice plus-money. Take the +125 and hope for the best.

* provides data related to gambling and cannot guarantee the success of any suggested or related wagers. Please gamble responsibly.*