The wounded Canadiens are home to Buffalo tonight as they try to snap out of a 3 game losing streak. Welcome news from the injury front came today as Sheldon Souray should return to the lineup. Souray has missed the last 4 games due to a groin injury. The return to 6 defenders will be welcome for the coaches and forwards, who were forced to play a very defensive style against Ottawa on Tuesday. The bad news is that Saku Koivu will sit this one out with, you guessed it, a groin injury. The team’s offence has been suffering lately, with only 8 goals in its last 5 games. Mike Ribeiro commented that in order to defeat Buffalo, the team would need to play better defensively and with more discipline.
The Habs received sad news as Mike Komisarek’s mother passed away at the age of 51 due to cancer. Everyone at Habsworld extend best wishes to him and his family.
Ironically, the Sabres with numerous key injuries including top line players Daniel Briere, Jean-Pierre Dumont and top goalie Ryan Miller, have managed seven wins and a shootout loss in their last eight games. Their improved play has raised the team into a tie for third with Toronto, and only one point behind Montreal for second place in the Northeast division. So far this season, the Canadiens are 2-1 against Buffalo, winning the first two games with identical 3-2 scores, but losing 3-1 to the Sabres last Saturday. Watch for head coach Claude Julien to roll 4 lines a lot, with some forward juggling, until he finds a hot combination that will produce some goals.
Alexander Perezhogin – Mike Ribeiro – Richard Zednik
Chris Higgins – Tomas Plekanec – Michael Ryder
Jan Bulis – Radek Bonk – Niklas Sundstrom
Steve Begin – Pierre Dagenais – Andrei Kostitsyn
Sheldon Souray – Craig Rivet
Francis Bouillon – JP Cote
Mark Streit – Mathieu Dandenault
Injuries & Scratches: Yann Danis [G, healthy], Alexei Kovalev [RW, knee, 4-8 weeks], Andrei Markov [D, 2nd of 3 game suspension], Mike Komisarek [D, personal leave], Saku Koivu [C, groin, day-to-day]
Jason Pominville – Tim Connolly – Ales Kotalik
Jochen Hecht – Chris Drury – Mike Grier
Adam Mair- Paul Gaustad –
Thomas Vanek- Derek Roy – Maxim Afinogenov
Jay McKee-Teppo Numminen
Rory Fitzpatrick-Brian Campbell
Toni Lydman-Henrik Tallinder
Injuries & Scratches: Daniel Briere [C, groin injury], Jean-Pierre Dumont [W, groin injury], Ryan Miller [G, broken thumb, back late December], Taylor Pyatt [fractured wrist, indefinitely]
Starting Goalies: Montreal, Jose Theodore; Buffalo, Martin Biron
Habs Notes: Saku Koivu has been struggling lately due to a groin injury…***UPDATE*** Koivu’s groin injury was irritated during the Ottawa game. He is not expected to dress tonight. Andrei Kostitsyn was called up from Hamilton today, and the Habs will likely press Ribeiro, Plekanec, Bonk and Begin as the top 4 centres tonight…..Who’s Not: Niklas Sundstrom [0 Points, 6 Games], Radek Bonk [0 Points, 3 Games], Steve Begin [0 Points, 6 Games],
Sabres Notes: Forward Afinogenov is suffering from a slight groin injury, but expects to start tonight…Goalie Martin Biron has not lost since November 12…Who’s Hot: Maxim Afinogenov [1 G, 3 A, 2 Games], Derek Roy [3 A, 2 Games], Tim Connolly [4 G, 8 A, 12 Games], Chris Drury [4 G, 6 A, 10 Games], Ales Kotalik [9 G, 3 A, 15 Games], Teppo Numminen [9 A, 10 Games]…Who’s Not: Mike Grier [0 Points, 7 Games], Toni Lydman [0 Points, 5 Games]