Tonight marks the fourth time this season the Sens have prepared to take on the Buffalo Sabres this season, though tonight will mark a distinctly different type of game.
With the Sabres written off by many as having no playoff hopes and having just traded two veterans in Jordan Leopold and Jason Pominville, their lineup will have a much different look than it has recently. Essentially, the Sabres have entered spoiler mode in the minds of many and have players playing for jobs rather than playoff seeding, making them as dangerous as ever.
Daniel Alfredsson offered up his thoughts on the Sabres and this game after today's morning skate.
The familiarity of the two teams with one another lends itself to hard fought games, according to Alfredsson, even with one team well ahead of the other in the standings. This season has certainly been no exception. Even with the Sens 2-0-0 record against the Sabres, the games haven't been easy.
Alfredsson expects another hard fought game tonight.
"They made some changes as a team obviously and haven't had a great season so far. We know how they play, we know their players pretty well so it's always a battle against them. I think we have to get out and get off to a quick start. We had done a good job of that the last few games and I think that, especially at this time of the year, it really sets up the rest of the game if you can get that lead and put some pressure on the other team."
With the Sens coming off of two losses, tonight's game offers a chance to right the ship early in this long road trip. While the ability to execute has come and gone over the course of the season, the team's goal remains the same — the Sens simply want to give themselves a chance to win late and take it from there.
"I thought the Boston game we still hung with them the entire way and had opportunities to tie that game up. We have just got to try and push ourselves every night, we've said this all year long. Find yourself in the third period with a good chance of winning the game. That's all we're asking."
For most Sens fans and observers, the main storyline of tonight's game will be the debut of Cory Conacher in a Sens uniform. Many will be watching with a keen eye to see if he gives the team a lift with his play up front. Alfredsson expects just that.
"For us, a guy that has some offensive skills and plays with a lot of energy is going to help us. We didn't give up a player up front to get that addition and I think it's going to help us for sure."
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