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Canadiens vs Sabres: Start time, TV schedule and game preview

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Downtrodden and embarrassed, can the Habs reverse their fortunes with a trip to Buffalo?

Former Canadiens captain Brian Gionta now wears the C in Buffalo.
Former Canadiens captain Brian Gionta now wears the C in Buffalo.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Going into last night's game against Chicago, I suggested that the Habs were in trouble. Now, it looks like they're even worse.

The Canadiens suffered a 5-0 shutout loss last night, and somehow, that qualifies as their third most troubling result of the season. Montreal put up a fight early in the game, but Chicago took over and would not relent, dealing the Habs a third consecutive loss. The Canadiens were downtrodden. Now, they're embarrassed.

Thankfully, if the Habs are looking for a turn-around, they've come to the right place.

Tale of the Tape

2014-11-05 TofT BUF

How to Watch

Time: 7:30 PM ET
In Canada: Sportsnet Ontario, East, West, and Pacific
In the Habs' Region: RDS
In Buffalo: MSG-B
Elsewhere: NHL Gamcenter Live or NHL Center Ice

Know Your Enemy

The Sabres set out to make some changes this off-season. They dealt a draft pick for the Canadiens steady defender, Josh Gorges. They liquidated a few PegulaBucks and signed Brian Gionta, an aging but useful player, to be their captain. Promising young defenders Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov are getting their NHL shot.

Sadly, the early returns have been more of the same. The Sabres have been outscored 2.7-1, on average. Their possession play is prodigiously bad, and puts them on pace for what would be the worst Fenwick close mark since the NHL began to record all shot attempts for the 2005-06 season. Michal Neuvirth, the likely starting keeper, has actually kept his head above water in his five games this season, and that feat just couldn't be further from mattering.

The Canadiens need a win. The event staff at the First Niagara Center have one ready for them.

Last Time Out

The Canadiens went 4 for 4 against the Sabres last season, dominating their basement-dwelling opposition game in and game out. Last time out was 2-0 shutout for Carey Price, a game which saw the second star earned by the now departed Thomas Vanek.

The extent of the Habs success was much greater than the 35-24 shot count indicates, as the highlight video below looks like a Matt Hackett tryout tape. Save for a pretty Cody Hodgson dangle, the film is almost exclusively Hackett stymying the Habs, relenting only when Max Pacioretty managed to bounce a puck off him and in for his 100th NHL goal.

The best comes last however, as Daniel Briere has left his fans in Montreal a little parting gift. Caught live and in the wild, Briere gives us a genuine Montreal Canadiens powerplay goal, something that fans could be forgiven for considering extinct as well.

Beating the Buffalo Sabres proves nothing, unfortunately, but sometimes, one needs a confidence boost. The Sabres are the type of team that can make their opponent feel like maybe everything will be all right. A team in need of a pick-me-up, the Habs would be wise to take advantage.