The Montreal Canadiens have really begun to turn the page after starting off with struggles and injuries, and are now hoping to bounce back.
The Habs (7-9-1), who recently saw their three-game winning streak end Thursday night versus the Minnesota Wild, will play a struggling team in the Buffalo Sabres (5-9-2).
Montreal's latest game was the first loss for rookie goaltender Charlie Lindgren after winning the first five of his NHL career, as the Habs were shut out for the third time this season by a 3-0 margin at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. Jason Zucker completed his first career NHL hat trick, while goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 41 saves for his first shutout of the season, and 25th of his career.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Sabres region: MSG-B
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
Saturday's matchup at the Bell Centre will be the second time these two former Northeast Division rivals face off against each other. In what was the season opener for both clubs on October 5, Montreal came back in the third period when forward Phillip Danault scored a short-handed marker to tie the game up at two apiece, and then centre Jonathan Drouin got the shootout winner on a nice deke past Buffalo goaltender Robin Lehner. Captain Max Pacioretty had the other goal for Montreal while Buffalo got a couple of goals from a familiar face, Jason Pominville, who returned after playing his first seven-plus seasons as a Sabre.
Buffalo is coming off a 4-1 loss against the Florida Panthers yesterday evening. Forward Kyle Okposo scored the lone goal for the Sabres, his second of the season, while Robin Lehner made 27 saves out of the 29 he faced in the loss. The defeat places Buffalo in last place in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens have recently been hit by the injury bug, with Drouin, defenceman Shea Weber, and goaltender Carey Price all out of the lineup Thursday night. Both Drouin and Weber are day-to-day, nursing upper- and lower-body injuries, respectively, and will be game-time decisions.
Habs fans did have reason to be optimistic as Price has been spotted practising this past week with goaltending coach Stephane Waite. However, backup goaltender Al Montoya sustained an upper-body injury in practice, so Zachary Fucale was recalled from the Laval Rocket on an emergency call-up.
It might mean that the Canadiens will see Lindgren yet again between the pipes, which isn't a bad thing. Lindgren (5-1-0 career) is 2-1-0 this season with a stellar 1.35 goals-against average, a .961 save percentage, and one shutout.
These two teams always seem to play a close game, so tonight’s match should be no different.