NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 25th (All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (22-21-5) at Ottawa Senators (17-25-7), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has said he isn't planning on shaking up his staff before the end of the season, but with Ottawa having lost 11 of its last 12 games one has to wonder how long he can really hold out.
The embattled Sens hope to snap a five-game slide this evening as they host the surging Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place.
Melnyk told the Ottawa Sun on Saturday that general manager Bryan Murray and head coach Cory Clouston won't be fired before the end of the season despite the club's struggles and current position of last place in the Northeast Division. Melnyk's comments to the paper came on the heels of a 7-1 home setback to Montreal on Friday.
Chris Kelly had the lone goal and Mike Brodeur gave up four goals on 15 shots before being pulled in the second period. Brian Elliott yielded another three tallies on 20 shots in relief.
"We had two turnovers that led to goals and the third and fourth goal killed us," said Clouston. "We had nothing going from that point on. We have to start from scratch if we want to get things going."
Ottawa, which currently sits 13th in the Eastern Conference, failed to get a spark from Alex Kovalev's return to the lineup after the forward missed six games with a knee injury. Chris Neil, meanwhile, is questionable after a high stick versus the Canadiens caught him in the eye.
The Senators have lost six straight at home and haven't won in front of their fans since Dec. 26. That was also Elliott's last win in net as he is 0-7-3 in 10 starts since, but he could turn things around versus Buffalo.
The 25-year-old won his first nine career starts against the Sabres and was even excellent against them despite having that streak snapped in the last meeting. Elliott was credited with a 31-save shutout, but took a 1-0 shootout loss.
Buffalo's Thomas Vanek scored the only goal of that shootout and Ryan Miller made 32 saves in his shutout effort. The Sabres picked up their third win in four games versus the Sens since a nine-game series losing streak and they have now won their last three trips to Ottawa.
Miller was pulled early in Friday's 5-2 loss to the Islanders, but rebounded with 31 saves in a 5-3 triumph at New York on Sunday to complete a home-and- home set. Tyler Myers, Nathan Gerbe and Jason Pominville all scored third- period goals as Buffalo improved to 8-3-1 in its last 12 games.
"It was a good third period for us," said Tyler Ennis, who also had a goal. "We needed this win today. It was a good team effort out there."
Gerbe scored a pair of goals a club-record five seconds apart in Friday's loss and has now scored four goals in his last three games after managing just two over his first 28 this season.
Vanek was limited in Sunday's win with an upper-body and is questionable for tonight, as is Drew Stafford (groin).
Buffalo won the opener of a three-game road trip and is six points back of a playoff spot in the East.
Miller has won three straight starts in Ottawa and is 11-15-2 with a 2.75 goals-against average versus the Senators lifetime.
01/25 10:47:14 ET