The Buffalo Sabres are ready for a change.
A familiar foe will make their way to HSBC Arena on Wednesday night, and it’s a place the Ottawa Senators have become increasingly fond of.
The Sens have won six of their last eight meetings in the Queen City since 2007 and the Sabres want to turn the tide.
“It’s obviously not fun losing to them,” Derek Roy
said. “We’re going to have a little extra motivation on our side. I think going into Ottawa all the time and losing in that place, and even coming in here and beating us… we’ve got to be ready for them.”
The consensus in the locker room is that the Sabres need to tighten things up defensively; not only because they are coming off a 5-4 loss to the Penguins in which they gave up a two-goal lead, but because the Senators have been outscoring their opponents 3 to 1.
Currently riding a nine-game winning streak, Ottawa has only given up a total of 10 goals during the stretch.
“They have been playing really well defensively,” Jason Pominville
said. “They haven’t really been giving up much so we’ll have to work for our opportunities.
“Last night was a great example. Hopefully we can learn from it and hopefully it will make us better.”
“We’ve got two teams that have really been on fire in the East, and it’s been Washington and Ottawa,” said Head Coach Lindy Ruff. “It’s a good team for us to play. They’ve kind of had our number… This one you want to wrap your arms around and go after.”
The Sabres may have to do so without Pat Kaleta. The winger was hurt during the first period of Monday night’s game in Pittsburgh, after being struck by a shot in the foot.
Ruff did not have a timetable, but did say that the X-rays were negative.
“He’s going to have a tough time walking on it,” Ruff said. “It’s possible that it could start feeling better by tomorrow. It’s just how it responds.”
If Kaleta cannot play, it will mark the first time a Sabres’ player has missed a game due to injury since Jan. 9 [when Kaleta missed six games due to a lower body ailment].
The move put Matt Ellis
back alongside Adam Mair and Tim Kennedy at practice on Tuesday afternoon as the team prepared to face the Senators and attempt to claim their first victory against them since January 6, 2009
“Going into a game you’ve got to put the past behind you and focus on what you have to do… not what they’ve done to us in the previous games,” Pominville said. “Tomorrow’s a different day.”
“There were a lot of games where special teams played a big factor, there were games that their big line played a big factor,” Ruff said. “There were games where we deserved to win and didn’t win, and there were a few games that fell into different categories. We just need to go out there and play a real good, strong hockey game and give ourselves the best chance possible.”