Game preview: Canadiens vs. Sabres
SABRES (6-21-2) @ CANADIENS (18-9-3)
The Canadiens conclude a tough stretch of four games in six days on Saturday night when they play host to the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre.
The Habs are on a roll these days, as they continue to play stellar hockey. In their last outing on Thursday night, second-period goals from Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty lifted Michel Therrien’s troops to a 2-1 win over the rival Boston Bruins. Pacioretty’s tally was his ninth in as many games. For his part, Carey Price was solid once again in goal, making 33 stops en route to registering his 13th win of the season. It was also Price’s sixth straight victory.
That win over Boston upped the Canadiens’ record to 8-0-1 in their last nine games, allowing the bleu-blanc-rouge to move into top spot in the Atlantic division with 39 points.
The Canadiens will be looking for a fifth consecutive win on Saturday night, which would mark their longest winning-streak of the season. The odds are certainly in the Habs’ favor as the Sabres sit last in the NHL standings with just 14 points in 29 games.
Despite sitting first in the division and second in the Eastern Conference, the Canadiens are 15th in the NHL in average goals per game with 2.67. Looking to spark some additional offense, Michel Therrien has once again juggled his lines, moving 2013 free agent acquisition Daniel Briere onto a trio with Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk and sliding Michael Bournival in alongside Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.
Before heading to Montreal, Ted Nolan’s contingent dropped a 3-1 decision to the New York Rangers on Thursday night. Tyler Ennis scored the lone goal for Buffalo. It was the Sabres’ eighth loss in their last nine games.
Carey Price will get his 24th start of the season on Saturday night, looking to build on his 11-9-7 career record against the Sabres. Price currently sits second among all NHL netminders with a stellar .938 save percentage. He will go up against Jhonas Enroth who has a 1-5-2 record in nine games this season. The Swedish netminder did not face the Canadiens last week.
Montreal and Buffalo will do battle for the second time in nine days. On November 27, the Canadiens downed the Sabres 3-1 at the First Niagara Center. Buffalo will be looking to snap a five-game road losing streak.