The Montreal Canadiens snapped Boston’s 12-game winning streak last night in a shootout. For that, I am thankful.
Tonight’s Opponent: The Montreal Canadiens
Record: 40-26-7, 87 pts.
Standings: Fourth in the Eastern Conference
Current Streak: Won two
Hopefully, the Canadiens are a tired bunch tonight, having expended a lot of energy to send the Bruins to their first loss in 13 games, and now being forced to turn right around and host the Sabres back home. Perhaps Buffalo can catch Montreal with its pants down . . .
. . . but even if the Canadiens are a bit gassed, the Sabres are still going to have to find a way to push some pucks past Carey Price. Fat chance of that happening. Price has been stellar this season, having won 29 games, posting a 2.4 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Dude also won Olympic gold in Sochi, posting back-to-back shutouts to defeat the USA and then Sweden. Price is on the short-list of Vezina Trophy finalists, so even if the Canadiens are off tonight, Price will erase a ton of mistakes.
All this talk of the Canadiens being tired and off of their game is optimistic, but sadly not very realistic. A win by the Canadiens tonight would move them ahead of the idle Tamp Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The two teams are currently tied with 87 points apiece, but the Lightning are in second place in the division due to the fact that they currently have a game in hand on Montreal. Montreal would love to move into second, as it would guarantee them home-ice advantage through most (if not all) of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
I would not be surprised if Montreal comes out a bit sluggish, but knowing what’s at stake they should be able to fight through that and give the Buffalo Sabres a tough time tonight.