NHL Game Preview; Sabres at Canadiens

  • Tyler Race

Sabres vs Canadiens The worse team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres (6-21-2), take on the red-hot Montreal Canadiens  (18-9-2) Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. If any team is capable of stopping this Montreal team, it is hard to imagine that team being the Sabres, but stranger things have happened, right? With just 14 points, the Sabres are the only team in the NHL to not reach at least 20 points.

The Sabres are coming off a 3-1 loss Thursday against the Rangers, where Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller had 28 saves, with a save percentage of .903. Rangers’ Rick Nash’s goal in the first period certainly did not help matters. When it comes to playing from behind, the Sabres are just 5-17-0 when trailing through the first period. The only Sabres goal against the Rangers was scored by Tyler Ennis (his fifth of the season), but it was not enough, as it happened with just 2:06 remaining in the game.

After Friday’s practice, Ryan Miller stated he was not too happy about his performance during the loss to the Rangers, citing that the team needs to find ways to win games.

 “I have to respond with a better effort than I had against the Rangers and keep building my game, hopefully in anticipation of putting myself out there for USA Hockey and helping this team get on the right page here,” Miller said after practice Friday. “We’re improving in small areas and our games are becoming hockey games now instead of lopsided kind of events. We’re in games and we gotta find ways to win. Hopefully that’s coming.”

The Montreal Candiens are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and their huge 2-1 win Thursday over the Bruins allowed Montreal to overtake the Bruins’ first place spot in the Atlantic Division. In Thursday nights win, both Montreal goals were scored by  Tomas Plekanec-his tenth of the season-and Max Pacioretty-his eleventh of the season.

Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price is 13-8 this season, with a save percentage of .938, which ranks Price second in the league.

The last time these two teams met was November 27, in which the Canadiens picked up a 3-1 victory over the Sabres. In that game, Matt Moulson scored the only Sabres goal. Alex Galchenyuk David Desharnais and  Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadiens. In his last four games against the Canadiens, Moulson has six points.

Injuries

Sabres–Forward Cody McCormick (upper body); Defenseman Alexander Sulzer is on injured reserved.

Canadiens-Rene Bourque is questionable.

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