After three lengthy evenings off with a playoff spot clinched the Montreal Canadiens (43-24-10) watched many of their conference rivals jockey for position. One of those teams being the 10th place Buffalo Sabres (36-30-11) whom last night defeated the Ottawa Senators in a shootout. Buffalo trails both Boston and Philadelphia by 5 points with all three teams having just 5 games left.
This year’s season series between the two Northeast Divisional rivals has been a draw in every sense of the word, both teams have 3 wins, 15 goals and a shutout against their divisional rivals. Along with 6 power play goals a piece and 0 short handed offence.
The last time these two teams met was February 29th the Canadiens sat in 5th place, 3 points behind the 1st place Devils and 6 points up on the 9th place Sabres. Montreal won that game 6-2 on the back of a Tomas Plekanec hat trick, a four assist night for Alex Kovalev and 31 saves from Carey Price. It was the Habs first win in Buffalo since a 5-2 victory last season in mid December.
A year ago the Sabres won the Easter Conference and scored 308 goals, 20 more than any other team. This year the Sabres have just 242 goals fifty behind what they had at this time last year much of that can be credited to the loss of Chris Drury (23 goals) and Daniel Briere (30 goals) whom both left Buffalo via unrestricted free agency.
Guillaume Latendresse did not make the trip to Buffalo and will miss both games for the Canadiens this weekend. The sophomore forward has 16 goals and 10 assists this season and has improved his +/- this year by 16. Latendresse is out with neck spasms after taking a questionable hit against the Bruins last week.
With the Sabres needing to win out to have any hope of making the playoffs Ryan Miller will be back in goal. Miller is 10-4-2 all time against the Canadiens with two career shutouts. Carey Price will start for the Canadiens he is 1-1 against the Sabres and has a 12-6 road record.
The game can be seen at 7:30pm EST on RDS(HD) or MSG (HD). The game can also be heard in Montreal on CJAD in English or CKAC in French.
1. Buffalo has just 5 wins in their last 13 games and has surrendered 4 or more goals 7 times during that span.
2. Other than his 4 assist game against the Sabres Alex Kovalev has not registered a single point against the Sabres.
3. Derek Roy has 6 points against the Habs this season.