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Stop Vanek and Win the Game?(2008-12-20 08:44 posted by Jonathan Rebelo)
Thomas Vanek leads all NHL goal scorers with 24 goals; three of those have come while playing the Canadiens. Vanek had the only Sabres goal in the Canadiens season opener en route to a 2-1 shootout victory in Buffalo. Ales Kotalik and Drew Stafford each fooled Carey Price while Ryan Miller thwarted Saku Koivu and Robert Lang. During their second meeting of the season Vanek had both Sabres goals but Montreal managed to comeback from a 2-1 deficit and hang on for a 3-2 victory.
Saku Koivu won't be ready to return to action tonight but Carey Price seems to be eying a return on Sunday so do not be surprised if he is the back up for tonight’s game. Andrei Kostitsyn is listed as day to day and will not be in the line up, which is good news for Ben Maxwell who is slated to take his vacant roster spot. The elder Kostitsyn has a minor knee injury, which he suffered in Thursday night’s game against the Flyers.
Ryan Miller played last night in Buffalo and earned his 10th career shutout. Patrick Lalime was in net for the Sabres in their loss to the Canadiens in late November because Miller had played the night before. It will be interesting to see if the Sabres decide to use Miller two nights in a row this time.
Craig Rivet is out with an undisclosed injury, Tim Connolly has a broken rib and Paul Gaustad has an upper body injury and is day-to-day.
More updates will follow later in the day.
1. Despite all the negativity surrounding the Canadiens play thus far and especially all the finger wagging at their 28th ranked power play, they are 4 points better than last year and have scored 3 more goals and allowed 9 fewer.
2. Derek Roy had a goal and 2 assists last night to extend his point streak to 8 games, which is his longest of the season. Last year Roy finished the year on a 12 game streak in which he scored 5 goals and had 15 assists.
3. Montreal is 10-1-1-1 all time against the Sabres on Saturday nights in Montreal in December.