Aside from last week's win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Ottawa Senators haven't been able to get things going offensively of late.
Another matchup against Buffalo could help them do just that.
The Senators look to take advantage of the visiting Sabres' defensive woes again as these Northeast Division rivals square off Tuesday night.
Ottawa averaged 3.4 goals in opening 5-1-1 but has since been outscored 10-7 during a 1-3-1 stretch, with its only win coming 4-3 at home over last-place Buffalo (5-7-1) last Tuesday.
The Senators, who rank near the bottom of the league with 39 power-play opportunities, saw their struggles continue Saturday in a 1-0 loss to Winnipeg. Ben Bishop made 36 saves, but Ottawa (6-4-2) went 0 for 3 on the power play for the second consecutive game.
"Collectively, we have to come together and find a way to create offense, put pucks and bodies at the net, and gain more offensive zone time. I have to do a better job of that myself," said Kyle Turris, who leads the team with 10 points. "We know we can do a lot better, we just have to do it more consistently."
Milan Michalek, who has one assist over the last six games, shared the same sentiment.
"We have to put the pucks to the net more and be in front," he told the team's official website. "That's how goals are scored now. We haven't been doing that. We have to get back to the basics."
So do the Sabres, but on the opposite end of the ice. Buffalo has given up an NHL-high 46 goals and is among the worst in the league in allowing 34.1 shots per game.
Defenseman Robyn Regehr's return from a seven-game absence due to a lower-body injury didn't help much in Sunday's 3-1 loss to Boston. Tyler Ennis scored for the third time in four games and Ryan Miller stopped 36 of 38 shots, dropping to 5-5-1 with a 2.97 goals-against average.
"We're spending too much time in our own zone defensively, we have to tighten things up there," Regehr said. "We can't keep allowing 35-plus shots a game here, there's just too many chances against."
In addition to its defensive troubles, Buffalo has gone 1 for 23 on the power play while losing four of six.
"Our power play has to be a little bit better," said captain Jason Pominville, who's gone pointless in a season-high three straight games. "We had a tough time getting set up (Sunday), so that's an area where we have to improve on."
Pominville could have a hard time getting on track against Craig Anderson, who is 6-2-2 with a league-low 1.49 GAA. Anderson, though, has allowed three goals in back-to-back starts after yielding two or fewer in each of his first eight.
Anderson made 20 saves against the Sabres last week to earn his fourth consecutive win in this series. He helped hold Thomas Vanek, who leads the NHL with 23 points, off the stat sheet. Vanek's only other pointless effort came Sunday.
Miller had surrendered four goals in five consecutive games before yielding two in each of his last two. Miller, who didn't face Ottawa last Tuesday, is 6-2-1 with a 2.07 GAA in his last nine games against the Senators.
The Sabres had won six of seven at Ottawa before coming up short last week.
The Associated Press News Service
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