Main storyline: Tonight in Montreal, the Buffalo Sabres (7-14-2) look to put the finishing touches on this home-and-home series sweep. Buffalo will be less than 24 hours removed from a big 2-1 victory over the Canadiens at the First Niagara Center.
Season series: Tonight’s game happens to be the third of four games this season between division rivals. Montreal took Game 1, 2-1, in a shootout. Buffalo won Game 2 last night, 2-1. Following this matchup, Montreal and Buffalo meet for the final time next February at the Bell Centre.
Where they stand: Buffalo sees themselves on quite a hot streak, as they are winners of 4 of the last 5. Montreal is 7-3-0 in their past 10 games, but happens to have lost their last two games in regulation.
Recent performance: The “GEM Line” of Girgensons, Ennis, and Moulson continue their torrid pace together. In 7 games as a top line, the GEM Line has tallied 9 goals and 22 points, including 5 combined points in last night’s victory. Buffalo has been white hot, but still find themselves in the basement of the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference.
Buffalo notes: The Sabres played most of Friday night’s game without forward Drew Stafford, who logged only 2:13 TOI in the 2-1 victory. Stafford will be evaluated at the morning skate, but head coach Ted Nolan expects him to play. Do not be surprised if the Sabres recall a forward from Rochester (AHL), for insurance purposes. It is currently uncertain if goaltender Jhonas Enroth will draw the back-to-back, but it should be noted that goaltender Michal Neuvirth has yet to start since returning from injury.
Opponent notes: Montreal struggle with close games continues, as their goal differential is now at a minuscule +3. Following last night’s loss, Montreal still leads the Eastern Conference with 33 points, despite only averaging 2.42 goals per game.
Conclusion: Buffalo looks to run their white hot streak to 5 wins in 6 games, while sweeping the home-and-home against one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. Puck drops shortly after 7 PM, and the game will be broadcast on MSG.