OTTAWA -- I'm not a big fan of the Celsius scale, especially in winter. It's minus-10 up in Canada's capital. That equates to 14 degrees American. See, doesn't that sound warmer?
It's going to be minus-25 tonight with the wind chill. That's minus-13 American. OK, I guess that's frigid either way. (And, yes, I know it's Fahrenheit, but we're about the only ones who use it.)
Did you know on this date in 2006 the Senators beat the Sabres, 3-1, in front of 18,690 in HSBC Arena? Thank you, Ottawa PR, for the sheet titled "This Day in Ottawa Senators History." Did you also know that back on Dec. 16, 2000, goaltender Patrick Lalime had a 26-save shutout as the Senators beat the Islanders, 6-0, in the Corel Centre?
Lalime will not be getting a shutout for the Sabres tonight in the building, since renamed Scotiabank Place. He will watch from the bench as Ryan Miller tries for one.
One more note from this date: Back in 1924, J. Frank Ahearne sold ownership in the Senators to Tommy Gorman for $50,000. I'm guessing now you can't even buy one suite for one season at that price.
7:40 p.m.: As Lyndon Slewidge leaves the ice, we're under way.
7:41 p.m.: This is by far the quietest I've ever heard this building in my eight seasons. It's even quieter than HSBC Arena lately.
7:44 p.m.: Scoring sensation Patrick Kaleta, who is still getting some grief from teammates about his goal celebrations, is back on the fourth line with Matt Ellis and Adam Mair. Mike Grier has moved up to join Tim Kennedy and Jochen Hecht -- at least through the first two line cycles anyway.
7:48 p.m.: And on the third go-round, they switch.
7:49 p.m.: First commercial break, it's 0-0 with 11:19 to go. Miller has made two nice stops, one on Filip Kuba on a two-on-one, and another when he got his left pad on Jonathan Cheechoo's close-range shot.
7:53 p.m.: Another commercial. It should be for the Clocktower Pub, Had dinner and sodas there last night for the first time (I usually have four places I frequent here, but I went outside the plate, er, box). It was superb. I'd never ordered meatloaf before (my grandfather used to do so), so I gave it a whirl. Here's the description: Oven-roasted & bacon wrapped, served with mashed potatoes & seasonal vegetables, topped with our brown-ale mushroom sauce. OH MY! The bacon flavor seeped into the meat, and it was awesome. So was the sauce. Of course, it had beer in it, so that's probably why.
Can you really beat bacon and beer?
7:58 p.m.: Much slower start for the Sabres than their last visit. I think they had 17 shots in the first period last month. So far, with 7:30 to go, they have four. Ottawa has seven.
8:01 p.m.: Eighth save by Miller is spectacular. Sens get three-on-one, with Ryan Shannon and Chris Campoli perfectly working a give-and-go. A shot by Shannon goes through Miller's pads, but the netminder reaches back with his stick to stop the puck at the goal line and pull it into his body.
Half a minute later, Peter Regin gets a close-range shot. Sabres are loose.
8:08 p.m.: Five of the Sens' 10 shots could be considered scoring chances, as Miller makes a blocker save on Regin with 2:20 left. Luckily for the Sabres, they have Miller. But luck doesn't always hold for 60 minutes.
8:10 p.m.: As evidenced by the Sens scoring with 1:37 to go. Defenseman Alexandre Picard moved in from the point and took a shot from the top of the circle. Miller couldn't see it with Cheechoo and Andrej Sekera battling at the top of the crease.
Right off the next faceoff, the Sabres turned the puck over in their own zone, giving Chris Kelly nothing but Miller in front of him. The goalie again reached back with his stick to knock the puck away.
It's end of one, and outclassed Sabres are in a 1-0 hole and an 11-5 shot deficit.
8:31 p.m.: Second period starts with a vicious five-minute baording penalty on Jarkko Ruutu, famous for allegedly biting Andrew Peters and various other infractions. He drives Kaleta's head into the boards just 29 seconds in, and the Angola native is helped off the ice by athletic trainer Tim Macre and Jason Pominville.
8:34 p.m.: I'd doubt if Kaleta could return.
8:37 p.m.: Sabres get only one shot before power play is short-circuited 1:53 in by Tim Connolly's slash.
8:39 p.m.: Sabres get two shots in three minutes of power-play time, which is now over.
8:41 p.m.: Another odd-man rush by Sens, with Regin going around Steve Montador with 13:25 to go. Miller again there to make the stop. Ottawa, though only holding a 1-0 lead, well on its way to 22-6-4 against the Sabres since the lockout at this rate.
8:46 p.m.: Sabres almost -- almost! -- get a scoring chance. Thomas Vanek was hanging and took a long outlet pass at the blue line, but Chris Phillips got back to break it up before Vanek could get moving with 11:30 to go.
With 10:26 left, Ottawa has 17 of the 25 shots.
8:52 p.m.: Phillips off for hooking Grier with 7:40 left. Wake-up call?
8:54 p.m.: Nope, power play shortened one minute in when Derek Roy trips Daniel Alfredsson.
9 p.m.: Sens goalie Brian Elliott makes his save of the night on a three-on-two with 2:50 left. Grier sends a cross-ice pass to Clarke MacArthur, and Elliott slides across to get his arm on the one-timer to keep Ottawa in front.
9:05 p.m.: The period ends the way it started, with Ottawa up, 1-0. Shots were 7-7, bringing the Sens' advantage to 18-12.
9:20 p.m.: Just got official word: Kaleta will not return
9:23 p.m.: Sens start the period with a power play, after Adam Mair was called for charging as time expired in the second.
9:25 p.m.: Sabres -- ie, Miller -- had to kill 24 seconds of a five-on-three after Jason Pominville went off for interference.
9:28 p.m.: Sabres' penalties expire naturally, but only because Shannon hits the post just before Pominville exits.
9:41 p.m.: Sens kill off a hooking call with 11:34 to go, and now they're back on the PK. Ruutu pushes Roy in the head on way to bench with 9:04 to go, drawing a roughing call.
9:52 p.m.: Mike Fisher scores with 1:36 left.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said the following after the 2-0 loss to Ottawa: "I knew last night when we got the call at midnight and you’ve got seven guys with food poisoning you don’t have much chance of winning. I’m not going to make an excuse, but we had guys this morning that couldn’t come to the pregame, couldn’t come to the pregame meeting, and it showed. There were guys who typically skate a lot better who couldn’t skate. End of story."