The Sabres are back at rock bottom

March 8, 2018
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Ottawa, ON (WGR 550) - With four games in six days and games on back-to-back nights, the Sabres are not having a morning skate on Thursday.

Despite playing better lately, Buffalo can’t even keep up with the Arizona Coyotes anymore and are dead last in the NHL. The Sabres are the only team in the NHL that is under .400 in point percentage at .396. Arizona is now .402.

Tonight’s opponent, Ottawa is third last in the National Hockey League at .431.

Buffalo is also behind the Coyotes for last place in goals scored. The Sabres have netted 2.39 goals per-game and Arizona is at 2.41.

The Sabres never showed up in Wednesday’s 5-1 home loss to Calgary. The Sabres stood around and watched their goalies be under siege and Phil Housley was furious, “That’s a good phrase for it, standing around watching. We talked about their desperation and we didn’t have a pushback.

“It’s disappointing because you think we’re going in the right direction. You look at the games like Tampa, Boston, Toronto, they’re easy to get up for and Calgary comes in here and we didn’t match their desperation and that’s top to bottom.”

Housley has called his team unprepared many times this season and he’s getting tired of saying it, “It’s about preparation and being a good pro and you can say it was an off-night, but I disagree. We had a little too much cheat, not enough compete, losing puck battles all around and that’s the result you’re going to get.”

The Sabres have beaten Ottawa in Buffalo and lost to them here in overtime. Robin Lehner played 33:59 and stopped 18 of 19 shots in relief of Chad Johnson on Wednesday.

Against his former team, he’s 5-0-3 with a 1.57 goals against and .950 save percentage. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in goal against the Sens.

Buffalo is 7-0-3 in its last 10 meetings vs Ottawa.

It also wouldn’t surprise me if Danny O’Regan played his first game as a Sabre. In 19 games with the Sharks this season, he had no goals and four assists. In 34 AHL games, he has 27 points.

I really wanted the defensive pair of Brendan Guhle and Casey Nelson to stay together for the month to see if the AHL chemistry could translate to the NHL. Things were going so poorly for the team against the Flames, Guhle wound up with Rasmus Ristolainen and Nelson went back with Marco Scandella.

Ottawa has won two out of three, but they also only have two wins in eight games.

The Sens power play has been clicking scoring a PP goal in five out of six games.

In the last seven games, Craig Anderson has played four and Mike Condon has played three. Condon has just one win in 2018 and has lost nine out of 10 decisions.

Both goalies have a horrendous save percentage of .901 and both are around 3.25 in goals against.

Mark Stone is 27th in league scoring with 61 points in 56 games. He is Ottawa’s only 20 goal scorer. Stone has points in nine straight games scoring two goals and 12 assists for 14 points.

Matt Duchene got off to a bad start in Ottawa, picking up just six points in his first 24 games. Since then, he has 26 points in 27 games.

Erik Karlsson has gotten it going lately with three goals and 15 assists for 18 points in 18 games.

Mike Hoffman netted the overtime winner for the Sens in the game here. He has seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in 17 games.

Bobby Ryan has been back from injury for six games and has a point in every one of them. Ryan’s point streak is seven games scoring two goals and six assists for eight points.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame show at 6:30 when they will be joined by Phil Housley, Sam Reinhart and one more player.