PreGame Skate: Montreal Canadiens

 

Tomorrow night, the Buffalo Sabres resume their push to make the playoffs with a home game against Les Canadiens de Montréal.

Buffalo is excruciatingly still sitting just 2 points back of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which is currently held by the Washington Capitals. Gaining ground recently has proven difficult – last time the Sabres faced the Canadiens, 9 days ago, Buffalo was 3 points away from that final spot, which was held by the Florida Panthers at the time.

Interestingly enough, it was a game against Montreal that may have been a catalyst towards the current streak the Sabres are on.

A 4-3 shootout loss to Montreal back on February 17th  dropped Buffalo into a tie for last place in the East, and nine points out of the final playoff spot. The Sabres have gone on a 10-2-3 tear since, picking up 23 out of a possible 30 points.

Tyler Myers makes his return to the lineup, following a 3 game suspension for a hit on Scott Gomez during the last meeting with the Canadiens. Aside from the still-concussed Jochen Hecht (will we ever see him skate in a Sabres jersey again?), Buffalo has a very healthy lineup. Nathan Gerbe is questionable with one of those ever-mysterious upper body injuries. Montreal, meanwhile, will be without Captain and Rochester-native Brian Gionta (torn biceps), Travis Moen (upper body), Mathieu Darche (upper body), and Raphael Diaz (lower body). Gomez has been out with a concussion since the hit from Myers.

The return of Myers means that someone on the Sabres defense will sit, likely either Mike Weber or the newly acquired Alexander Sulzer. If it was my choice, Weber would sit, as Sulzer has been a revelation for Buffalo. Sulzer has been very poised with the puck, displayed great decision making, and has formed excellent chemistry with Christian Ehrhoff.

The Sabres enter the game 4-1-2 over their last 7 games. The Canadiens sit in last place in the East, despite going 3-0-3 over their last 6.

Sabres netminder Ryan Miller has been red-hot, going 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts with a 2.15 GAA. Canadiens goalie Carey Price, meanwhile, is only 3-6-1 with a 2.77 GAA in his last 10.

Also hot for the Sabres: rookie Marcus Foligno, with 7 points in his last 5 games; Jason Pominville, with 7 points in his last 7 games; Drew Stafford, with 9 points in his last 4 games; and Tyler Ennis, with 9 points in his last 5 games.

LET’S GO BUFFALO!

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Montreal Canadiens NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

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