KEYS TO VICTORY
With a playoff berth in sight, the Canadiens begin a two-game road trip with a Thursday night matchup against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
The Habs are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Capitals on Tuesday night in Montreal. Lars Eller recorded his fifth and sixth goals of the season for the Canadiens, as the Habs dropped their first game of the year to a southeast division opponent after besting the likes of Winnipeg, Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay and Washington a combined 11 straight times. With 55 points on the season, the Habs are fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point back of Boston for top spot in the northeast division.
Buffalo, meanwhile, had a three-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night with a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. The Sabres sit 11th in the Eastern Conference standings with 38 points, six points out of a playoff spot.
Thursday night’s tilt will be the fifth and final regular season meeting between the Canadiens and Sabres, with Buffalo having won the last three games over Montreal.
- Peter Budaj will make his eighth start of the season for the Canadiens on Thursday night in Buffalo. Budaj signed a two-year contract extension with the Habs on Wednesday.
- Kevin Porter has four points in his last four games, while Steve Ott has three goals in his last four outings for Buffalo.
- Absent for the the Sabres are forward Ville Leino and defenseman Alexander Sulzer, both of whom are sidelined due to injury.
- Ryan Miller will get the start in goal for the Sabres.
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