Sabres in search of fourth straight win as they hit the road in Ottawa

Buffalo now starts a stretch of six of the next seven games away from KeyBank Center

Pat Malacaro
February 18, 2020 - 12:11 pm

The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators are meeting for the final time this regular season, and the second time since the All-Star break.

Buffalo came out of their bye week with a 5-2 loss to Ottawa on home ice and have dropped two straight against tonight’s opponent. The Senators won the only other meeting between the two teams at Canadian Tire Centre this season with a 3-1 victory back on Dec. 23.

After playing nine of their last 10 games at KeyBank Center, the Sabres now hit the road for six of their next seven games with Tuesday's action. The blue and gold finished the homestand 4-4-1, but closed out that stretch with three straight wins. That included a 5-2 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Michael Frolik is still dealing with an illness and did not make the trip to Canada’s capital city. The Sabres called up forward Scott Wilson from the Rochester Americans on Monday, while goalie Andrew Hammond was assigned back to the American Hockey League. Carter Hutton had a maintenance day on Monday, but is expected in goal for Buffalo, according to head coach Ralph Krueger.

Johan Larsson missed Monday’s skate as well with a maintenance day. Krueger also said that Larsson will dress for the pregame skate and the team will have 13 forwards and six defenseman during warmups.

The pregame skate will be later than normal on Tuesday, due to a special ceremony at Canadian Tire Centre. The puck will not drop until 7:52 p.m. because the Senators are retiring Chris Phillips’ No. 4 to the rafters in Ottawa. The ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m. with the teams not hitting the ice until 7:15 p.m. after it concludes. Krueger believes that, “it’s good for our players to sense that respect that’s shown in the National Hockey League for people that are loyal to their clubs and play with such sacrifice and pay such a price throughout their careers.” Phillips played all 1,179 career games with Ottawa over 17 seasons.

Krueger does not believe that the late start will impact his team. He added, “we’ve dealt with all kinds of different early starts, and we’re in a 50th anniversary year, we’ve had multiple shows before the game and everything has only added to the pleasure, and the enjoyment, and the honor of playing in the National Hockey League.” Phillips’ number  will join Daniel Alfredsson (11), and Frank Finnegan (8) as the three retired numbers by the Senators.

Kyle Okposo recorded his 500th point with a goal in Sunday’s win against Toronto. It was his second game back from injury and was paired again with Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons. It seemed like the three forwards did not miss a beat, with Girgensons believing that, “I think we just think the game the same way. I think we play similar games and it’s easy to play when you know where the guy’s gonna be.” The trio have combined for 43 points this season with 22 goals and 21 assists.

Tune in for the extended pregame show, starting at 6:30 p.m. on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network – WGR Sports Radio 550. You will hear from Krueger, Girgensons, Colin Miller, and Rasmus Dahlin during the pregame show with Mike Schopp, the Bulldog and Joe DiBiase.

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