MONTREAL - For the first time in four months, the Canadiens will be back at work on Bell Centre ice when they play host to the Sabres on Sunday night in their first exhibition game of the 2013-14 campaign.
Following their intra-squad game on Saturday, head coach Michel Therrien will call on a mix of veterans and prospects for the Habs' opening pre-season tilt. According to the CBA, every team must dress at least nine veterans for each exhibition game. Brandon Prust, Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller will be among the veterans in uniform on Sunday night.
While many players returned to the Habs’ fold this season, management has expressed a desire to see a measure of competition within the team for the few roster spots that could be available. As such, several of the organization’s prospects will try to make a good impression on Canadiens brass in an attempt to extend their stay with the big club for as long as possible. Michael McCarron, Zachary Fucale and Sebastian Collberg will be among the prospects suiting up for Montreal.
The Sabres, who along with the Canadiens are among the eight teams comprising the NHL’s atlantic division, will likely feature a lineup similar to last season despite losing the services of Andrej Sekera, Jochen Hecht and Nathan Gerbe. Buffalo did, however, reacquire defenseman Henrik Tallinder who spent the last three seasons with the Devils, and also signed center Cody Hodgson to a long-term contract. Hodgson finished second in scoring for the Sabres in 2012-13 behind Thomas Vanek with 34 points in 48 games.
Montreal and Buffalo went up against each other five times last season with the Canadiens emerging victorious on two occasions. Two of the three defeats at the hands of the Sabres came in overtime, including one in a shootout. The two teams will square off four times during the 2013-14 regular season.