Montreal Canadiens (8-4-1) at
Buffalo Sabres (3-9-1)
The Montreal Canadiens have lost their last three games, the last of which being a 5-0 drubbing by the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. So, what better way for them to get back on the winning track than to face the Sabres. They'll do that on Wednesday night as Buffalo continues their four game home stand with a 7:30 pm start.
The Sabres roster has some recent history with the Canadiens in the last couple of season. Both forward Brian Gionta and defenseman Josh Gorges were playing for Montreal last season. Gionta played 81 games for Montreal and Gorges 66 and had some relative success with their former team last year. Both are looking forward, though, and are ready to face their former teammates for the first time:
"My team is here in Buffalo. That's where my focus is. That's where my head is," Gorges said Tuesday. "Things that happened in the past you have no control on. So there's no sense in thinking about what ifs and what could of been. The focus is on today, here and now and this team in Buffalo."
The Canadiens come into Buffalo on that three game losing streak and head coach Michael Therrien calling out their character. From the Globe and Mail after last night's game:
Describing his team's effort after the Hawks made it 2-0 midway through the second period, "usually we show a lot of character, we didn't tonight."
Montreal's offense has been lacking over the last five games, not scoring more than two in each of the last five. The last time the team scored more than three goals in a game was eight games ago, October 16th against the Boston Bruins. The Canadiens' biggest Achilles' heel this season has been allowing the first goal. The team has allowed the first goal in 11 of their first 13 games.
Three Questions for Tonight
1.) Will Gionta or Gorges score against their former team?
Brian Gionta had 18 goals and 22 assists and Gorges had one goal and 13 assists for Montreal last season. This season Gionta has just one assist and Gorges hasn't registered a point yet. At some point, both will find some offensive prowess and a game against Montreal might bring the spark needed.
2.) Who scores first?
As mentioned above, the Montreal Canadiens have given up the first goal in 11 of their 13 games this season. The Buffalo Sabres have given up the first goal in 9 of their 13 games this season. The Canadiens are 2-0 when scoring first while Buffalo is 3-0-1. Somebody will have to score first, just who?
3.) How many Canadiens fans will show up tonight?
Habs fans have traveled to the First Niagara Center well over the past few seasons and tickets for tonight's game can be had on Stubhub for as cheap as $13 at the time of writing. How many fans will cross the border and will this game feel more like a road game than a home one.