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

Can the Habs hold off a team that needs the two points much more than they do?

Montreal Canadiens @ Buffalo Sabres

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Pacific (English)
In the Canadiens region: RDS (French)
In the Sabres region: MSG Buffalo
Streaming: ESPN+, RDS Direct, Sportsnet Now

The Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators met on March 21 in a game between two teams running out of track in the race to the playoffs. Buffalo allowed seven goals that night, losing for the eighth time in nine games. It appeared that they had run out of gas before getting to the finish line.

After two days off to contemplate their situation, looking at a 12th consecutive year with no playoff berth, they hit the ice as a reinvigorated team. First they held on to defeat the New Jersey Devils in regulation on Friday, then shut out a New York Islanders team they may have to surpass to squeak into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo is currently seven points behind the Islanders and six back of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they hold one game in hand on their closest target to make up a couple of those points, and they’ll be eager to grab those from the Montreal Canadiens this evening.

Tale of the Tape

43.5% (30th)Scoring-chances-for %50.5% (17th)
2.84 (26th)Goals per game3.57 (3rd)
3.67 (28th)Goals against per game3.68 (29th)
17.3% (28th)PP%24.3% (6th)
73.1% (29th)PK%72.4% (31st)
1-1-0H2H Record1-1-0

If the Sabres are going to pull off this improbable feat, it’s going to be thanks to their stars. As we see with another upstart in the Atlantic Division, the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo has some quality talent at the top of the lineup, helping the club produce the league’s third-best power play, but gets feasted upon while the best players are on the bench. That important win over New Jersey featured the 44th goal of the season from breakout star Tage Thompson, the 28th goal for Dylan Cozens, and two critical tallies from Alex Tuch in the second period that were the difference in the end to bring his total to 32. Saturday’s game was sealed by Jeff Skinner sending his 31st into an empty net. And Rasmus Dahlin is patrolling the blue line to make sure the puck gets to them having a hand in 65 of the team’s goals.

Montreal felt the full force of that offensive firepower when the teams last met on November 22, a 7-2 defeat, and it’s that type of barrage the visitors will need to expect at KeyBank Center. The Habs are feeling pretty good about their own offensive game at the moment, just posting eight goals themselves, so Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and company will be up to the challenge.

The roster has since been bolstered by the signing of Sean Farrell, who will accompany the team on the road trip. He probably won’t jump right into the action tonight a day after being signed, but we might see him tomorrow in Philadelphia rather than being granted his first NHL action versus the Florida Panthers or powerhouse Carolina Hurricanes.

At the same time tonight’s game is going on, the top-heavy Senators, minus an injured Jakob Chychrun, will be taking on the Panthers, who are wedged in the middle of Buffalo’s fight for a post-season spot. Fanbases of both the Habs and Sabres will be rooting for a Panthers loss, wanting Florida to gain no further ground in the standings. The Panthers’ surge up the ranks has sputtered to a halt in the last week, as they now sit on three consecutive losses. There will be plenty of scoreboard watching during this one as we begin the final three weeks of the regular season.

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