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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, October 4th (All times Eastern)

Ottawa Senators (0-0-0) at Buffalo Sabres (0-1-0), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Ottawa Senators enter the 2013-14 season with lofty expectations, and they'll do their best to get off to a good start when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for Friday's clash at First Niagara Center.

The Senators made the playoffs for the second straight spring in 2013 before losing in the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games. However, Paul MacLean's club was bounced out of the postseason with superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson playing at less than 100 percent, and a return to health for Ottawa's best player is key to the team's success in 2013-14.

Also on Ottawa's mind heading into this season is the loss of longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson, who signed with new Atlantic Division rival Detroit this summer. Alfredsson, who was the face of the franchise for well over a decade, will face his former team four times in the regular season, but he won't make his first trip to Ottawa until Dec. 1.

The Senators actually won't play any team on home ice until Oct. 17, as the club is starting this season on a six-game road trip. One of Ottawa's weaknesses last year was its inability to put forth consistent efforts on the road, where the Sens went 10-11-3 during the lockout-shortened season of 2013.

Although "Alfie" is no longer a member of the Sens, the club did react quickly by landing power forward Bobby Ryan from Anaheim on the same day their former captain made the decision to head across the border into Michigan. Ryan is a four-time 30-goal scorer at the ripe age of 26, and he'll likely offer more offensive production than the 41-year-old Alfredsson could at this stage of his career.

Ryan's offensive contributions aside, under MacLean the Senators still will be expected to play a cohesive defensive style in front of the steady goaltending of Craig Anderson. Anderson missed considerable time during the 2013 regular season, but is ready for the season opener on Friday.

The Sabres, also members of the new-look Atlantic Division, opened their season Wednesday night in Detroit and were handed a 2-1 regulation by the Red Wings. Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk tallied 36 seconds apart in the first period and Jimmy Howard turned away 19-of-20 shots to lift the Red Wings to a win in their first game as a member of both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

It was the 12 time in the last 13 matchups that the Sabres lost at Joe Louis Arena.

Zemgus Girgensons scored his first career goal for Buffalo, which came up short on all seven of its power-play opportunities. Girgensons, drafted 14th overall in the 2012 draft, lit the lamp in the third period.

Ryan Miller was steady following the two early goals, stopping 32-of-34 shots in the narrow defeat.

"We were right there all night," Miller said. "We got in a position to tie. I think we were improving as the game went on."

The Sabres, who are rebuilding and not expected to make the postseason in 2013-14, lost forward Ville Leino to a cracked rib in the opener and he is out indefinitely. Leino signed a six-year, $27 million with Buffalo in the summer of 2011, but has battled injuries and inconsistency during his tenure with the Sabres.

After visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, the Sabres will return home for a two-game stint in western New York.

Ottawa won three of four meetings against the Sabres last season, but the Sens have dropped four of their last seven tilts in Buffalo.

10/04 10:46:42 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
 
3rd
PIT 2
CAR 3
 
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
 
2nd
UF 37
UNC 47
 
2nd
TULSA 14
ECU 14
 
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
 
3rd
TOR 62
DAL 69
 
4th
DET 74
MIL 90
 
4th
ATL 84
NOP 77
 
3rd
HOU 50
LAC 65
 
3rd
OKC 61
NYK 39
 
3rd
IND 60
ORL 54
 
2nd
SAN 50
SAC 43
 
1st
DEN 22
PHO 15
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
2nd
VT 10
UVA 6
 
2nd
TULSA 14
ECU 14
 
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 59
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
Final
FSU 58
CSOU 47
 
Final
VALPO 66
DRAK 46
Final
CIN 69
MTST 51
Final
SDU 75
PRIN 65
Final
WASU 76
RICE 74
 
Final
CSFU 64
USCU 79
Final
GT 61
RIDE 54
 
Final
TXPA 79
ALAST 91
 
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
 
Final
TCU 57
BRAD 49
 
Final
WAKE 65
DELST 72
 
Final
HART 83
EMERSON 50
 
Final
STJ 66
GONZ 73
 
Final
CLEM 62
HIGH 59
 
Final
SYR 72
HC 48
 
Final
MD 61
MON 56
 
Final
JVST 74
SAV 71
 
Final
MIAMI 87
SALA 75
 
Final
RUTG 68
VANDY 65
 
2nd
PETE 57
TENST 54
 
2nd
MARS 32
CLST 43
 
2nd
JST 38
HOF 61
 
2nd
INDST 36
MEM 50
 
2nd
UF 37
UNC 47
 
2nd
LATU 51
SAMF 37
 
2nd
TULA 62
SELA 50
 
2nd
NEB 58
TENNM 50
 
Half
MISS 31
CREI 37
 
Half
PORT 30
MURST 29
 
1st
MARQ 11
MSU 17
 
1st
ARK 23
UNT 23
 
1st
NCOL 25
STET 14
 
1st
IND 27
UNCG 14
 
1st
SJST 16
WMICH 19
 
1st
MNTST 20
TXARL 9
 
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
Final
WAS 5
NYI 2
3rd
PIT 2
CAR 3
 
3rd
NJD 4
DET 4
 
3rd
BUF 1
MON 1
 
3rd
CLB 0
VAN 4
 
3rd
BOS 1
WIN 1
 
2nd Intermission
FLA 1
OTT 2
 
2nd
STL 1
EDM 1
 
1st Intermission
DAL 0
MIN 2