For the first time that I can remember, the Montreal Canadiens will be facing off against the Buffalo Sabres without Lindy Ruff behind the bench. Does this mean that the usual formula against the Sabres is finally over?
Will the Canadiens no longer build a lead, only to have Ruff blow up at the refs in the third period and get multiple phantom calls that lead to a ton of Sabres powerplays and a blown lead in the final couple minutes, only to lose in a shootout?
I sure as heck hope so. Maybe Buffalo will be a slightly less annoying opponent. But probably not.
New Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston has elected to start Jhonas Enroth against the Canadiens tonight, perhaps due to a hunch since the young Swedish goalie has never lost a start to Montreal, going 2-0-0 with a .917 save percentage.
The player to watch though, as always, is Thomas Vanek. Vanek is a Hab killer of the highest order, and has 3 goals in two games against Montreal this season.
The Canadiens are 1-0-1 against Buffalo this season, scoring 10 goals and allowing 6 (including the shootout winner).
Rene Bourque is the Habs' leading scorer against the Sabres so far this season, with 2 goals and 2 assists, but although he practiced with the team today for the first time since suffering a concussion, he won't be in the lineup.
After stealing the game against New Jersey, Carey Price gets the start again tonight for the Habs. He has a 10-8-6 record against the Sabres in his career, in spite of a career .935 save percentage. Hopefully the team can give him some goal support to work with.
For the view from the opposing side, check our Die by the Blade.
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