SENATORS (0-0-0) at SABRES (0-1-0)
TV: SNET-E, TVA, MSG-B
Season series: Last season, the Ottawa Senators took three of four games from the Buffalo Sabres. Erik Karlsson had two goals in two games, including a game-winner, and Craig Anderson was brilliant in his two starts, stopping 62 of 65 shots in a pair of wins. Drew Stafford had two goals and Ryan Miller went 1-1-1, allowing eight goals in three starts for the Sabres.
Big story: How will the Senators deal with the loss of former captain Daniel Alfredsson, who after 17 seasons in Ottawa, signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings in the offseason? Who will step up for the Sabres offensively? Buffalo ranked 12th in the Eastern Conference in goals for last season.
Senators: True, they lost in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Paul MacLean was named coach of the year after leading the Senators to the postseason despite a slew of injuries. Karlsson, Anderson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek are all healthy after missing large portions of last season.
After losing Alfredsson, the Senators acquired Bobby Ryan from the Ducks in exchange for Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen. MacLean promised Ryan's role with the team will be front and center.
"He's going to play in a top-six, a top-three role, all the time so it's a responsibility of preparation on a nightly basis to go with that and we feel he's ready, he's already a known factor in the league that he can, he's scored 30 goals in the league so he's a bona fide player that can do that and we're going to give him the opportunities he needs to get better," MacLean told the Senators' website on Wednesday.
Sabres: Thomas Vanek, recently named captain for all home games, has eight straight seasons with 20 or more goals and the Sabres will need that out of him again after struggling offensively last season. Buffalo had 20 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. Miller was brilliant, allowing two goals on 34 shots; the goals came in a 36-second span in the first period.
"It wasn't a game that got away from us. It was a game we definitely were in. We could've tied it up and if we play that kind of hockey all year against good hockey teams, we're going to be on the winning side of some of those," Miller told team's website. "And if we're on the losing side, we're going to have a chance to come back and that's something good to see. Now we just have to show that we can come back and we've got a knack for a little bit of the dramatic at the end."
Injury report: Spezza (groin) and defenseman Eric Gryba (upper body) are both listed as probable for the Senators. ... The Sabres will be without forwards Ville Leino (cracked rib), Marcus Foligno (strained shoulder), Corey Tropp (jaw surgery) and Nikita Zadorov (lacerated finger).
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