Less than 24 hours after beating conference-leading Boston, the Habs will try
to win their second game in as many nights on Tuesday as they host the Buffalo
Sabres, the cellar dwellers of the Eastern Conference. The teams met less
than two weeks ago with the Canadiens pulling out a 2-0 victory with Dustin
Tokarski collecting his first career NHL shutout.
If they can secure at least a point in this one, Montreal (40-26-7) can at
least move temporarily into sole possession of second place in the Atlantic
Division. The Sabres (20-43-8), meanwhile, are eleven points clear of
Edmonton for dead last in the league (giving them the best draft lottery odds
and a guaranteed top-two pick). One team has something to play for while
the other is playing out the stretch and as we’ve seen over the years, teams in
that latter category can be dangerous.
Injuries are beginning to become an issue for both squads. The Habs
will be without Josh Gorges (hand) and Brandon Prust (shoulder) although the
blueliner is skating on his own. The situations for Lars Eller, Travis
Moen, and Dale Weise (the entire fourth line from Saturday) are more murky.
All are considered day-to-day at this point and may or may not be available for
this game. For Buffalo, they are still without both Michal Neuvirth and
Jhonas Enroth, meaning that their AHL tandem of Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen
– who made his NHL debut in the last game vs the Canadiens – are holding down
the fort. Chris Stewart and Zemgus Girgensons are also out of the lineup.
Foligno – Ennis – Stafford
Conacher – Hodgson – Mitchell
Ellis – Flynn – D’Agostini
Scott – Konopka – Deslauriers
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Vanek
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Bourque – Briere – Gionta
Bournival – White – Parros
|Goals||Ennis (19)||Pacioretty (31)|
|Ehrhoff (25)||Subban (40)|
|Points||Ennis (38)||Vanek (58)|
|Conacher (+5)||Plekanec (+11)|
|PIMS||Scott (94)||Prust (121)|
1) Get an early boost: Whether it’s a goal, a big hit, a successful
penalty kill, or anything in between, getting some sort of a boost to shake off
the inevitable letdown from Monday’s victory will be important. If they
can do that, the Habs should be able to dictate the play early.
2) Balanced ice time: Although injuries and penalty trouble
necessitated the bench to be shortened against the Bruins late in the game, this
is a prime opportunity to give the veterans a couple of extra shifts off and let
the youngsters play a bit more. If it’s another three-line game early on,
the Sabres will get the edge as Montreal will tire out as it progresses.
3) Front line awakening: The top trio of Pacioretty-Desharnais-Vanek
were largely quiet against Boston. With Vanek having some motivation in
facing his former team and it being a weaker opponent, this would be a good time
for this line to shake off their struggles quickly.
Puck drop is at 7:30. The game can be seen on RDS and TSN-Habs.