Buffalo begins back-to-back with Montreal

Main storyline: Fresh off a close game against Winnipeg, the Sabres will open up a home and home series against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night at the First Niagara Center. 

Season series: The Canadiens have already defeated Buffalo once this season. A couple of weeks ago, Montreal edged the Sabres, 2-1, in a shootout, taking the first of a four game season series. After this weekend the teams will meet just one more time, in February when the Sabres will travel north. Tonight will be the final time this season Montreal will be in town. 

Where they stand: Even after winning three of their past four games, the Sabres sit last in the league with 14 points. The Blue Jackets also have 14 points, but do have a game in hand, keeping Buffalo in 30th. Montreal is off to a red-hot start to the season and are currently the best team in the NHL. A 16-6-1 record has the Canadiens looking dangerous and they will try to keep the momentum going against a division foe this weekend. 

Recent performance: After what seemed to be a better third period on Wednesday, the Sabres were unable to get any points from the Jets. Buffalo trailed by two, and Chris Stewart narrowed the deficit, but a shorthanded goal for Winnipeg turned out to be the game winner. The Canadiens are coming off a 5-0 loss to the Rangers, but have had four consecutive days off to prepare for Buffalo.

Buffalo notes: Patrick Kaleta played in his first home game of the season on Wednesday and took a brutal hit from behind into the boards. Fans got another chance to see just who would step up for an injured player. Head coach Ted Nolan said the way the Sabres played in the third period was how they need to play in order to win games. 

Opponent notes: Despite a goal differential of just +4, the Canadiens have found a way to the top of the league. Whether it be at home or on the road, Montreal is a difficult team to beat. We’re first in the League, so that’s really positive,” David Desharnais said. “And the fun part about it is we can go another step higher. We’ve played some good games and some that weren’t as good, then there were games where Carey Price was incredible and he went and got us a win. So I think we can be better, and that’s the beauty of it.”

Conclusion: The Canadiens are in town to begin a home and home set. The Sabres will have to be ready for a dominant team the next two nights. Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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