When the going gets tough, it gets really tough in Montreal. Mired in a five-game losing streak, they hope they can end it Saturday night against an opponent they've already played — and beaten — twice: the Buffalo Sabres.
The Canadiens (8-12-2) opened their 2017-18 season with a nail-biting, come-from-behind shootout victory against the Sabres in Buffalo back on October 5. Forward Phillip Danault scored a short-handed goal in the third period to tie the game up at two before Jonathan Drouin got the winner in the breakaway challenge.
Their most recent matchup against Buffalo (5-13-4) came November 11 at the Bell Centre, where Montreal took the game 2-1 in overtime. Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly opened the scoring in the last seconds of the first, while netminder Robin Lehner stood the fort until Habs forward Andrew Shaw tied the game up at one, scoring a power-play marker just over a minute into the third.
Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, who had set up Shaw's goal, then found himself alone in front of Lehner and deked him enough to stuff the puck past him for his third game-winner of the season. However since that game just under two weeks ago, Pacioretty has been silent, recording zero points and is a minus-8.
Carey Price has been medically cleared and will be between the pipes Saturday night, as confirmed on Friday afternoon. It will be his first start since November 2.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Sabres region: MSG-B
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|0.72||5v5 goal ratio||0.70*|
*Stats not including Buffalo's Friday game vs. Edmonton.
If the Habs wanted to get out of their slump, there's no better chance than the game against Buffalo on Saturday. Montreal has seen success against their division rival this season, and the Sabres are one game removed from a seven-game slide of their own.
Their six wins are matched only by the Arizona Coyotes, and their 16 points are also only one point ahead of Arizona, who currently sit dead-last in the NHL.
One of their only bright spots is the play of forward Evander Kane, who has 12 goals and 23 points through 23 games.
Tonight’s matchup features two teams who should be desperate at this point in the season for wins, with only one able to come out on top.