The Senators promise to do things the right way down the stretch

The Senators have 12 games remaining as they prepare to face the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night at the KeyBank Center.

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And now the end is near for the Ottawa Senators.

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Twelve games.

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That’s all that stands in the way of the Senators and the end of the season as they prepare to face the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night at the KeyBank Center to begin a stretch of three games in four days.

The Senators will have to take satisfaction in trying to play the role of spoiler down the stretch, but they’re hoping they won’t be in this position next year at this time.

“You want to compete every night, and being a spoiler is good, but hopefully next year we’re not in this spot,” Ottawa centre Shane Pinto said Tuesday.

Coming off back-to-back wins over the New Jersey Devils (5-2) Saturday and the Edmonton Oilers (5-3) Sunday, the Senators went for a 35-minute skate at the Canadian Tire Centre before they shuffled off to Buffalo for quick trip on the Air Canada Jetz charter.

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With Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks coming to town Thursday for their only appearance here this season, the Senators are determined not to play out the string and they’re confident they’ll do things the right way until the final buzzer sounds on the year.

Shane Pinto
Shane Pinto says it’s good to be a spoiler — but he doesn’t want the team to be in this situation again next season. Photo by Adam Hunger /Getty Images

Interim coach Jacques Martin wants his team to have the right approach, especially with the Sabres still thinking they have a chance to make the playoffs with the club sitting six points out of the final wildcard spot.

“We want to see some improvement,” Martin said. “That’s the key and we’re trying to establish an identity. We’ve played better and we’ve done more things. Offensively, we’ve created more and I know we haven’t scored, but we’ve created more.

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“We’ve got to learn to play a more responsible game. A lot of times when you play games at this time of year, you face some desperate teams and teams that are battling for playoffs. It’s important for our players to show up every game. I thought against Edmonton we played a physical game, we took the body more, and that helped us.”

A loss to the Senators would be another nail in the Sabres’ playoff hopes as they open a five-game homestand.

“We’re playing as a team more,” Pinto said. “We’ve got 12 games left here, we’ve got a lot of pride in this room so we’re not just going to go down (without a fight). We want to end strong.”


The club will go back to goaltender Joonas Korpisalo against the Sabres. He has four wins in his last five starts and was in the net for both of the club’s victories on the weekend. It was odd for the Senators to start Korpisalo in back-to-back games, but Martin explained he didn’t think that he was very busy in New Jersey and that’s why he faced Edmonton. The club also needs backup Anton Forsberg to find his game and do some work with goalie coach Justin Peters. “It was a chance to reset and work on his game,” Martin said. “Hopefully he’ll be ready the next game that he’s called upon.” … Forward Rourke Chartier, who suffered an upper-body injury March 9 against the San Jose Sharks, skated in a non-contact jersey Tuesday. He’s missed seven games as a result of the ailment and likely won’t play in either of these two games … The Sabres expect to have forward Jack Quinn back from a lower-body injury for the first time since Jan. 27. The graduate of the 67’s was a regular participant in the club’s skate Monday and coach Don Granato told reporters that Quinn is cleared to play … Judging by the skate, Martin won’t make any changes against the Sabres. The club is only carrying one extra defenceman and you can expect that veteran Travis Hamonic will get into one of these next two games. The Senators are trying to help their American Hockey League in Belleville make the playoffs so they’re trying to minimize the number of callups.

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The Senators’ Foundation gave a big assist to Roger Neilson House at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and to the creation of the Maison Papillon in Cantley, Que., during the club’s annual gala held Monday night at the rink.

Senators owner Michael Andlauer announced the club’s foundation has committed a $1 million donation to each of the facilities.

Roger Neilson House was opened 20 years ago to help provide assistance for pediatric palliative care for children and their families. Maison Papillon will be the first home built in the Gatineau region and is scheduled to open this year.

“This is a real team and we really are all making a difference. This is a big win tonight,” Andlauer told the audience.

The Senators’ Foundation gala, which was attended by the club’s management, players and hockey staff, raised more than $665,000 for the organization to help support children and youth in the National Capital Region.

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