Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

Pre-Game Skate: Montreal Canadiens

Although the Montreal Canadiens hold the fifteenth and final spot in the Eastern Conference, they have one thing the Sabres lack: a 30-goal scorer.

Max Pacioretty is one player that the Sabres will have to watch out for tonight, as the Habs are in Buffalo for a 7 p.m. matchup. He leads the team in goals (30) and points (56) and recently became the first American-born player to score thirty goals in a season for the Canadiens.

The 27-32-10 Montreal team comes to Buffalo tonight for its fourth meeting of the season with the Sabres – but not the last. Buffalo has gained at least one point in each of the match-ups so far, beginning with a 3-1 win on October 18, followed by a 3-2 shootout win November 14.

The streak continued January 31 for the teams’ final meeting in Montreal, which ended up with a 3-1 Buffalo win. In the first game at the First Niagara Center on February 17, the Sabres lost 4-3 in a shootout. After tonight’s game, they’ll meet again March 21.

Buffalo is coming off a shootout victory over the division-rival Ottawa Senators on Saturday, a game during which rookie Marcus Foligno scored his first NHL goal and Ryan Miller had 33 saves.

Every game during the season is important, but as the season winds down, each game just grows in relevance. Two points tonight could move the Sabres into ninth place, just two points shy of a playoff spot.

Cody McCormick, Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht all skated this morning at the First Niagara Center. Vanek is considered ‘doubtful’ for tonight’s game, but that could change since he did skate this morning with the team. McCormick’s status is unknown, while forward Matt Ellis is expected to miss time.

Andrej Sekera missed Saturday’s game with flu-like symptoms, and Patrick Kaleta was struggling with an upper-body injury. It is unknown if they’ll dress tonight or not, but we’ll find out closer to 7 p.m.

Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is 8-1-1 in his last ten starts.

Just a note for fans attending tonight’s game: the Tailgate Tent Party with Brad May is closed to the public; it is only open for those attending the ‘Hockey & Heels’ promotion, which is sold out.

Tonight’s game is a 7 p.m. start and is the first of consecutive home games for the Sabres, as they’ll take on the Avalanche on Wednesday.

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