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Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 32 — Sabres vs. Senators

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

4:45 PM: Get set for puck drop with Gord Wilson and Sens TV...

4:15 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie catches up with Matt Kassian to talk Christmas flicks. Take a look...

3:30 PM: Cory Conacher has a homecoming of sorts tonight when he returns to the town where he played his college hockey. Here's what he had to say on tonight...

On drawing back into the lineup after being a scratch:

I had a maintenance day the day before and Coach wanted to play Kassian so I was an easy guy to take out of the lineup to give me an extra day's rest. Kass has done well, he hasn't played much but he'll fight for the team. His fight yesterday was a bit of a momentum change for the guys which was nice to see. It's nice to be back in the lineup, it's not fun watching games you're supposed to be in. I learned from it, you see things up in the stands that you don't see on the ice so it was a nice little game to watch and hopefully I can build on that.

On family and friends in Buffalo:

I know my girlfriend just texted me and said eight of her family is coming. There's at least that in my family and I still have a lot of friends that go to Canisius. I'd say (30 or 40), yeah…there's a little extra fire in your belly to make something happen and obviously you can't get too carried away, you have to play within your game. Like I said hopefully I can start a little point streak with a goal or two tonight, but I'd be happy with a win. It's going to be important for me to continue to play good defensively and whether I get a point or not as long as we win the game.

3:00 PM: Here's what Erik Karlsson had to say ahead of tonight's game in Buffalo after he scored the winner in the season opener.

On the quick turnaround:

We've got to do what we've got this morning to be prepared tonight. I think everybody knows what they need to do to feel fresh tonight.

On trying to spark a streak:

We've got to put a few games together and we definitely should win this game tonight.

On last night's victory:

I think we played pretty good for the most part of this game — a few meltdowns — but in the end we stuck to it and it was nice to win in a shootout.

On the physicality:

We've got to play more physical. We've got to start and stop more and finish checks. We didn't do it for the entire game yesterday but we did it enough.

On the urgency level to string wins together:

It definitely would be nice but we've still got to look one game ahead and do our job tonight. No matter what happens that's all we're focusing on tonight and we'll go from there.

On Buffalo's struggles:

They're still a good team. Every team in this league is a good team, they have good players and they're going to come out and win the game. If we're not prepared to do the same they're going to beat us.

On the season opener in Buffalo:

I still remember being here and remember the win but it was a while ago and it's going to be a totally different game tonight than it was that time.

On the change in the season from then:

A lot, it was the first game of the season and it definitely wasn't our best one, but I think we have a good feeling coming in here and we're confident that if we play our game and keep doing the things we do good we're going to win tonight.

On six goals in his last six against Buffalo:

I'd like to make it eight then. Two would be nice.

1:55 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Sabres...

Ottawa Senators


MacArthur - Spezza - Ryan

Michalek - Turris - Condra

Greening - Smith - Neil

Kassian - Zibanejad - Conacher


Methot - Karlsson

Phillips - Corvo

Cowen - Wiercioch




Buffalo Sabres


Moulson - Ennis - Girgensons

Adam - Hodgson - D'Agostini

Foligno - Ott - Stafford

Scott - McCormick - Flynn


Tallinder - Myers

Ehrhoff - McBain

McNabb - Pysyk




1:15 PM: Here's what Paul MacLean had to say after today's optional skate in Buffalo...

On tonight's lineup:

Robin Lehner will be the goalie, everything else will be the same.

On last night's win keeping the status quo:

Yeah, when you win games it's not a habit to change things and I thought the way Patrick Wiercioch has helped the power play and got the puck moving has been a big thing for us and we feel that, again, Buffalo is a team that Matt Kassian should be in the game. We just want to stay the way we are and see if we can do it again.

On playing the Sabres for the first time since Ocotber:

There have been a lot of changes here obviously with the coaching staff and whatnot and their game, they're working hard, they have good structure, they struggle to score goals. We want to see if we can keep that going for them but at the same time, we're more worried about ourselves and how we're doing. We've won one game in a row more than one time this year and come back with a clunker the next night and found a way not to win the game. This is a test for us against an opponent that has struggled to score. If we can come out and play well defensively it should give us a chance to win.

On the physical element:

Well I think it's part of our identity is that physicality. We want to play 200 feet, we want to play fast — the 200 feet and fast part of our game, the execution has affected that — but I think the physicality that we bring as a group can have a toll as the game goes on and makes us a hard team to play against and makes the game a lot longer for the opposition.

On the time since the opener:

It has been a long time since we opened the season here but it has been a hard time too.

On Spezza-Ryan-MacArthur:

They got us a goal and we'll see. We've been known to keep it the same and change it back. At this point we'll see how it goes but I think we're going to start the game the way we finished the game to see if we can start this one the way we finished last night.

11:30 AM: The Sens have hit the ice in Buffalo...

10:15 AM: It's gameday and the Sens are in Buffalo getting ready to take on the Sabres.

The Sens pulled out a big shootout win — their first of the season — last night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Ottawa battled back on a pair of occasions to ultimately set up a win in the skills competition on the strength of a great Jason Spezza deke and a series of Craig Anderson stops.

The Sabres have struggled all season along, beginning with the Sens' 1-0 win in Buffalo to kick off the season. They currently find themselves in the basement of the Eastern Conference with a 6-22-2 record for 14 points. They are 3-12-1 at home.

The Sens will hit the ice in Buffalo at 11:30 AM and I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players' thoughts on tonight's game, Sens TV updates, Instagram goodness and more.

Stay tuned!

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