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Canadiens vs. Sabres: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

Is the third time the charm for the Canadiens under their new coach?

Buffalo Sabres v Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres

How to watch

Start time: **12:30 PM EST / 9:30 AM PST**
In Canada: Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Sabres region: MSG-Buffalo
Streaming: ESPN+, NHL Live, Sportsnet Now

For the second game of Martin St. Louis’s tenure as head coach, the Montreal Canadiens got off to a slow start and fell behind in their game. The good news is that the team once again improved as the game went on, getting more comfortable with their play and giving themselves an opportunity to come back.

Whatever he’s saying behind the bench and in the dressing room is clearly working, it seems he just needs to work on his pre-game speeches to prevent the rough opening frames. The Habs put together a very good third period on Saturday afternoon, outchancing the Columbus Blue Jackets 16-8 and getting a goal to tie it up, but a late penalty allowed Patrik Laine to go to work and keep his hot streak going with eight seconds remaining on the clock.

It was another loss — a ninth straight for the team — but it was the first one by by fewer than three goals in five tries, so that’s something the team can continue to build on. Perhaps today, with the Buffalo Sabres in town, is the day they get back in the win column.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Sabres
Canadiens Statistics Sabres
11-33-7 Record 16-27-8
47.1% (24th) Scoring-chances-for % 47.1% (25th)
2.25 (32nd) Goals per game 2.67 (23rd)
3.86 (32nd) Goals against per game 3.55 (28th)
12.7% (31st) PP% 19.6% (16th)
74.1% (30th) PK% 76.8% (23rd)
0-3-0 H2H Record 3-0-0

Without the shocking struggles of the Canadiens and the planned incompetence for the Arizona Coyotes this season, one of the main stories in the NHL would be the Sabres once more sitting at the bottom of the league. They have just 36 points through 46 games, which is quite terrible to anyone not accustomed to a team currently sitting on 23. The Sabres aren’t very good at scoring goals nor a strong defensive team, and that’s rightfully reflected in their record.

There will be some help on the way next year for Buffalo. One of the top stories from the Olympics is the presence of 2021 first overall selection Owen Power on Canada’s blue line, and he should be able to join the team next year, perhaps along with their pick from this summer, which will be near the top of the class once more.

They’ll also have Jack Quinn in the fold, their first-rounder from 2020. He got into two games this season and had a goal and an assist, then got injured before the All-Star break and is set to miss about another month of action.

Injuries are an issue for the Sabres as they also lost Zemgus Girgensons and defenceman Colin Miller around the same time. It’s nothing like what the Canadiens have dealt with, but it’s enough to get some big losses on their ledger in recent weeks.

If there’s one thing the Sabres can be proud of this season, it’s their middle-of-the-pack power play that shows off some of the talent that has been built in the organization. Rasmus Dahlin leads with 11 points on the man advantage, followed closely by Tage Thompson in his breakout season. There’s also small defenceman Jacob Bryson who is a bit of a power-play specialist, with six of his eight points coming on special teams.

The Sabres scored three times on the power play the first time they played Montreal this season, but the Habs were more disciplined when they met again in November. With the Canadiens’ own man advantage looking quite solid now that the focus is on playing the top offensive players as many seconds as possible (a wild concept), it could be them coming out on top of the special-teams battle for the first time in the season series.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Cole Caufield Nick Suzuki Tyler Toffoli
Rem Pitlick Jake Evans Josh Anderson
Mike Hoffman Paul Byron Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen Ryan Poehling Joel Armia

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Brett Kulak Jeff Petry
Alexander Romanov Corey Schueneman
Kale Clague Chris Wideman

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Samuel Montembeault Andrew Hammond

Buffalo Sabres projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Jeff Skinner Tage Thompson Alex Tuch
Anders Bjork Dylan Cozens Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Asplund Peyton Krebs Victor Olofsson
Mark Jankowski Cody Eakin John Hayden

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Rasmus Dahlin Henri Jokiharju
Mattias Samuelsson Casey Fitzgerald
Robert Hagg Mark Pysyk

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Craig Anderson Dustin Tokarski