Players to Watch: Senators at Sabres (Nov. 9)

Players to Watch: Senators at Sabres (Nov. 9)
Posted at 3:06 PM, Nov 09, 2016

In 2016 the Buffalo Sabres are 1-3 when playing at KeyBank Center. In those four games the Sabres have scored only five goals, three of which came in a 3-0 win over Florida. Wednesday the Sabres should get some help with the return of forward Evander Kane, and with the way they've looked at home, it is much needed. Players to watch during Wednesday's matchup with the Ottawa Senators:

Evander Kane

Kane will immediately help the Sabres find the back of the net, something they've struggled with so far this season. In 12 games Buffalo has 25 goals, averaging just 2.08 goals a game. The Sabres have been lucky to have some pretty solid goaltending the last few weeks -- but if Kane can start contributing, that should help take a little pressure off the back end.

In 65 games last season Kane had 20 goals and 35 points. Assuming he only misses a few more games, I fully expect those projections to be close to what Kane finishes the year with. Kane is great at generating chances and LOVES to shoot (usually high blocker) but sometimes has a hard time finishing relative to the amount of chances he gets.

Cracked ribs are no walk in the park -- so expect it to be a little while before Kane gets going, but even when he isn't 100% he's still one of the Sabres most skilled players.

Erik Karlsson

Karlsson once again is proving to be one of the leagues best defenders. In 12 games he has ten points (3G, 7A) and has an impressive +5 +/-. Karlsson logs big minutes - averaging about 27 minutes a game, so expect to see him a lot on Wednesday.

Not only does Karlsson quarterback the Senators power play, but he has continued to grow as a defenseman the last few years. For my money Karlsson is one of the best young players in the league. He has proven to be a thron in the side of the Sabres in the past, so keep an eye on him Wednesday.

Johan Larsson
Larsson has been very impressive early on this season. He makes up one third of the Sabres most steady line (Foligno-Larsson-Gionta) and already has six points (2G, 4A) in 12 games. Last year Larsson finished with 17 points -- this year he's on track for 40. I don't expect him to get quite there, but if he can get 30 points than Sabres fans should be thrilled. The trio has been solid early on and will need to continue to be while the Sabres wait for Jack Eichel to return. So far, you have to like their chances.

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