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Mar 26, 2024 1:46 pm

Hopeful Sabres open crucial homestand vs. Senators

tage thompson senators

The Buffalo Sabres will look to continue their recent strong play at home when they open a five-game homestand against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.

The Sabres (34-33-5, 73 points) swept a three-game homestand from March 9-14 before posting a 2-3-0 record during their season-high five-game road trip.

Tage Thompson scored and set up a goal and linemate Alex Tuch added an assist in Buffalo’s 4-1 at Calgary on Sunday night. Thompson (three goals, four assists) and Tuch (one goal, six assists) are both riding five-game point streaks.

“It’s been a tough trip,” Thompson said. “I thought we played some really good hockey, and obviously we had some stretches where (we were) not good enough, not happy. It’s good to head home with a win under our belt and kind of keep that momentum going into our next one.”

The next one is against Ottawa, and that might be music to the ears of Thompson. The 26-year-old recorded five goals and one assist to help the Sabres win two of the three meetings against the Senators this season.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves against the Flames on Sunday to post his 17th win since Jan. 1. The 25-year-old native of Finland has turned aside 59 of 66 shots to win both encounters versus Ottawa this season.

While the Sabres are keeping faint hopes for an Eastern Conference wild-card berth alive, the Senators (30-36-4, 64 points) seemingly have embraced the role of spoiler. Ottawa has won two in a row and five of its past eight games.

Defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored twice and Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson each collected a goal and two assists in the Senators’ 5-3 victory over Edmonton on Sunday.

Ottawa emerged victorious despite being outshot 36-16 by the Oilers.

“I mean, they were kind of all over us,” Batherson said. “I said to the boys, ‘The ice looks pretty good down in their end if we can get down there.’ But credit to the guys for keeping it out. Obviously, they hemmed us in a bit, and they’re going to do that with those players over there that they’ve got.”

The Senators have received strong play from Joonas Korpisalo, who has a 4-1-0 record with a 2.93 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in his last five games.

“(Strong goaltending) is huge for sure,” Chychrun said. “They had unbelievable looks (Sunday) and it could have been a different outcome for sure.

“Korpi played unbelievable, he played well in New Jersey (a 5-2 win on Saturday) as well and it goes a long way. It keeps us in the game and we were able to find a way so that was big.”

Whether Korpisalo or Anton Forsberg is in net for Ottawa, they’ll likely need to keep an eye on Rasmus Dahlin. The former top overall pick is expected to play on Wednesday despite being hit in the ear by a shot.

Dahlin leads the Sabres in both assists (35) and points (52).

–Field Level Media

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