Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres traveled to Ottawa for the second time in seven days on Tuesday night, looking to replicate last week’s success over the Senators.
This was the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. Since their last game, the Senators played three games, going 1-1-1 with losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, and a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Things looked to start out hot in the first, as usual, for the Sabres when Jeff Skinner scored, but his goal was disallowed due to a late whistle for an injured Senators player behind the play.
After that, it was all Ottawa, as they ran up the scoring in the first with three goals.
The Senators added another goal in the second and a final one in the third to make it 5-0. Former Sabres winger Tyler Ennis scored three of Ottawa's goals to earn himself his first hat-trick of the year. His three goals were the first for him since October.
In a very physical battle, the Sabres couldn’t seem to get going after a deflating disallowed goal.
Here are three observations from the loss:
This game saw tempers flare all night long.
Especially after a questionable hit from Sabres goalie Aaron Dell on Senators forward Drake Batherson that took him out of the game in the opening period, the hits and frustrations kept coming from both sides.
A total of nine penalties were given out to both teams with 26 penalty minutes on the night. Along with that, the Sabres had 23 hits to the Senators' 38. While the Sabres were outhit on the night, they certainly didn’t back down when the challenge arose.
2.) Special teams woes
While the penalty kill seems to be improving, the Sabres didn't convert on the power play. The team was unable to score on any of their five chances throughout the game.
They managed to generate shots through the five opportunities, only coming close on one chance from Tage Thompson, who had an empty net to shoot for and missed wide.
It just seemed like that kind of night for the Sabres.
Part of the problem seems to be they are looking for the perfect shot lane to thread the needle for that perfect goal.
It’s hard to explain what exactly is wrong with the two units after their stellar performance against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, where they converted on three of four opportunities.
3.) The injury front
This game saw both forwards Casey Mittelstadt and Zemgus Girgensons return to the lineup.
Mittelstadt has only played four games this season, recording one goal, but hopes to be back for good after undergoing surgery on an upper-body injury.
With these two players returning, it’s finally a step in the right direction for the Sabres, who now only have eight players on injured reserve with hopes of Kyle Okposo and Craig Anderson returning for the western road trip the team is about to embark on.
Before heading out west, the Sabres will have a few days of rest. Buffalo heads out to the desert on Saturday to take on the struggling Arizona Coyotes, who are last in the Central Division with a record of 10-27-4 on the season.
Sabres pregame coverage on WGR begins at 8 p.m. EST with Brian Koziol and Paul Hamilton, with puck drop slated for 9 p.m. EST.