Habs lead Sabres 2-1 after two
Buffalo Sabres at Montreal Canadiens
7:30 pm Bell Centre
TV Coverage: RDS, TSN-2, Versus (US) Radio: CJAD
Sabres SBN Coverage at Die By The Blade
The Montreal Canadiens face-off with the Buffalo Sabres for the fifth time this season. Their last meeting, a 2-1 overtime win by Buffalo, was a bizarre one that saw pucks bouncing off players heads, and Max Pacioretty being carted out on a stretcher. It also was the game where Mike Cammalleri suffered a separated shoulder, and has yet to return to the lineup.
Canadiens fans will be hoping that further injuries do not follow, as their team moves into the playoff stretch. Jaroslav Spacek is a game time decision, with an undisclosed injury, and as a precaution. the Canadiens called up Brendon Nash from the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Nash, 23, was signed by the Canadiens coming out of his 4th year at Cornell University. He's been a staple of the blueline this year in Hamilton, recording 3 goals and 20 assists in 50 games to go with a +12 rating and 41 PIM.
Since David Desharnais was called up to Montreal, Nash is tied for the top +/- rating on the Bulldogs. At 6'3" and 206 lbs, Nash is a fairly imposing blueliner. According to scouting reports he has good hockey sense and defensive positioning, as well as a lot of confidence in the offensive zone.
The press release can be read here. Nash is expected to stay with the team when they make their Western Canada road trip later this week.
Mathieu Darche will return to the lineup, and Lars Eller will observe from the gallery.
EOTP's Andrew Berkshire on No. 81: "It's looking more and more like Eller may be sent to Hamilton when Cammalleri is ready to return. The reasons for this being twofold; one being that Eller is in desperate need of some scoring confidence, and the other that Hamilton is in their worst slump of the season after the Canadiens have called up Pacioretty, Yannick Weber, Desharnais , Ryan Whiteand now Nash"
Carey Price gets the call in goal.
The Sabres are on a roll, winning 12 of their past 18 racked up 26 of a possible 36 points in that run. They have slowly inched up and now sit just four points back of the eight and final playoff spot.
Jhonas Enroth gets the start in goal and Patrick Lalime will be his backup. Ryan Miller, who has started 31 straight games for the Sabres, gets a night off. Drew Stafford has yet to record a goal in four games against the Canadiens, but has eight goals in his last four games for Buffalo. Patrick Kaleta, is still out with a bad hand, and Steve Montador remains day-to-day with a concussion.
Scoreboard watching: Dare I say "Go Leafs Go?" The Toronto Maple Leafs face the Boston Bruins tonight at TD Banknorth, and could do the Habs a favour with a win. There is also hot speculation on a deal with the two clubs, centering around Tomas Kaberle.
According to the Boston Globe's (Boston.com) and 98.5's Tony Massarotti (yes, one of the guys from last week), Brian Burke confided that they are pursuing a deal with the Bruins. Massarotti later tweeted, "Draw your own conclusions, but after the Burke interview, Cam Neely answered "yes" when asked if the Bruins were close to a trade."
There is also circulation that Kaberle has waived his no-trade clause. Then again, don't we hear this rumour on a semi-annual basis?
Updates as the night goes on
Lines: Gionta- Plekanec- Pacioretty | Darche-Gomez- Kostitsyn | Pouliot-Desharnais-White | Moen-Halpern-Pyatt
Dustin Byfuglien signs with Atlanta Thrashers: Per NHL.com/Sporting News$26 Million over 5 years
A look at David Desharnais from The Hockey News' Darryl Dobbs
1. 04:54 PPG Max Pacioretty (10) - T. Plekanec (27) & R. Hamrlik (21)
2. 06:28 Benoit Pouliot (13) - D. Desharnais (7) & J. Wisniewski (32
3. 17:48 PPG Drew Stafford (24) - T. Vanek (27) & T. Connolly (17)
4. 06:08 Jason Pominville (13) - J. Hecht (14) & N. Gerbe (10)