Habs return home after successful trip
SABRES (25-11-4) at CANADIENS (21-19-3)
: Buffalo 6-2-2; Montreal 6-4-0.
: This is the fourth meetings between the Northeast Division rivals. Buffalo is 2-0-1 against the Canadiens and most recently earned a 4-3 win at the Bell Centre on Dec. 14.
: Friday marked the official beginning of Ryan Miller's march to Vancouver. The Sabres' No. 1 goaltender has all but locked up the No. 1 job for Team USA at the Olympics and was named to the U.S. roster on Friday, along with Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.
: Buffalo opened 2010 in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 overtime win against the Atlanta Thrashers at HSBC Arena on Friday night. Derek Roy notched the game-winner in the final minute of the extra session. The victory increased Buffalo's lead in the Northeast to five points after Boston had briefly trimmed it to three with a wild win at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
"Anytime you get points in this League, you're happy, but we're not satisfied," Miller said. "I think we have to be a lot better to truly call ourselves a team that wants to contend."
: This is Montreal's first game of 2010 after Jacques Martin's team closed out 2009 with back-to-back victories. After earning a 2-1 overtime win at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, the Habs that followed that up with a 5-4 victory at Florida on Thursday to conclude a seven-game road trip that saw the Canadiens win six times. Sunday marks Montreal's first game on home ice since Dec. 17.
"We finished the year on a good note and now we have to keep it going," said defenseman Andrei Markov
, who had three assists against the Panthers.
: Buffalo forward Adam Mair had his first-two point game on Friday since Dec. 22, 2008 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. … Markov has a seven-game points streak for the Habs and racked up 3 goals and 7 assists during that span.
: Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta (leg) is day-to-day, while Nathan Gerbe (groin) is on a conditioning stint with Portland in the American Hockey League. … Habs right wing Andrei Kostitsyn
is questionable after leaving Thursday's game with a lower-body injury. His brother, Sergei, was a last-minute scratch in Florida with a lower-body injury. Paul Mara (wrist) is day-to-day.
: Buffalo has been outshot 62-20 in the first period of its last five games and 39-7 in its last three contests on home ice.
: "We're not going to keep coming back from 3-0. We're right on the cusp of either getting it figured out and going one way, or looking pretty bad." -- Sabres coach Lindy Ruff