Game Preview: Montreal Canadiens @ Buffalo Sabres
Tonight the Montreal Canadiens (7-4-1) travel take the trip to our fine All America City to take on the Buffalo Sabres (3-8-2). Both teams are in a bit of a rut right now. After going on a 4 game winning streak, Montreal has lost their last 2. Not to be out-done by mediocrity, the Sabres have dropped 4 straight. However, these two teams aren’t exactly what one would call “similar”. The primary difference between the two squads presents itself in the form of one thing: Montreal can win. Montreal currently sits at the top of the Northeast Division with 15 points. Compare that to the measly 8 points that the Sabres have been able to muster up and the difference becomes apparent. It’s worth noting that Montreal won the only battle between these two teams this year by a margin of 2-1.
It’s no secret how the Sabres have been playing as of late. Their last game was this past Wednesday against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins got off to a quick start after Brad Marchand netted a goal three minutes into the game. Boston continued to overwhelm the Sabres by scoring three more unanswered thus chasing rookie goalie Jhonas Enroth. Drew Stafford broke the silence for the Sabres with a late second period tally but it turned out to be a fruitless effort. Things got worse for the Sabres throughout the rest of the game with the final score ending at 5-2.
Montreal’s last matchup was Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus netted two late 1st period goals and didn’t look back. The goals were scored by Rick Nash and Derick Brassard with Jakub Voracek getting helpers on both goals. Columbus finished off the Canadiens with a Kyle Wilson goal six minutes into the third period.
Alright, time for your favorite old friend Who’s Hot and Not.
Derek Roy – With his team leading 6 goals, 7 assists and 13 points, Roy has been a bright spot on a very dark team. Though he hasn’t scored in the past few games, Roy has been able to make his presence known through the course of this season. Also, Roy scored the lone goal for the Sabres the last time these two teams met.
Tomas Plekanec – If the Canadiens want to get back to winning, they need production from Plekanec. Currently leading the team in points with 5 goals and 5 assists, Plekanec has been able to step up for the Canadiens this year. The last 4 games that the Canadiens won, Plekanec was on the score sheet. 3 of those score sheet appearances came due to goals as well. Look for TP to lead by example tonight by notching a goal.
Andrei Kostitsyn – Much like Plekanec, Kostitsyn has been an integral part in the past success for Montreal. He currently leads the team in goals and is tied with Plekanec for the points lead. With an integral OT goal against the Coyotes a week and a half ago and a 2 goal game the night before, Kostitsyn has been quite clutch for the Habs.
Everyone – Seriously. Everyone.
Lindy Ruff – Listen, the Sabres look really bad. Something needs to be done to shake this team up and wake this team up. I realize that Lindy isn’t out there scoring goals but still, an entire team doesn’t just forget how to play the game in an offseason. This team came into the year ill prepared and frankly looks quite sloppy. It is the job of the coaching staff to make sure that the team comes into each game looking well prepared and ready to play. The chemistry of the team is directly effected by what lines Ruff decides to throw out on the ice at any given time. He needs to right the ship, and fast.
Brian Gionta – When Gionta was brought into the organization two years ago, it was a move that intended to provide more of an offensive spark. This season, however, not so much. Through 12 games Gionta has 1 goal and 2 assists. WOO. Don’t overwhelm us too much there, Brian. I guess this season Gionta is just coming up… short.
Scott Gomez – Everything that was just said about Gionta could be said for Gomez. Offensive spark, coming up short, blah blah blah. Just like his pal Gionta, Gomez only has 1 goal and 2 assists. Look for Gomez to try and up his production tonight against the lowly Sabres.
Between the pipes for the Sabres tonight will be Patrick Lalime. Patty is playing in place of the injured Ryan Miller. Lalime played the latter half of last Wednesday’s game after coming in in relief of Enroth.
Carey Price gets the start for the Habs tonight. After getting off to a rough start, Price seems to have somewhat righted the ship. Look for him to grab yet another win tonight against the rough Buff.
The game is on at 7:30 on MSG.
P.S. WE’RE BAAAAAAAAACK.