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Sabres vs Canadiens Preview: So it Begins

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For the second year in a row the Sabres will get the season started against the Canadiens

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #1

Buffalo Sabres (0-0-0) vs. Montreal Canadiens (0-0-0)

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | Key Bank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Canadiens blog: Eyes on the Prize

What to Watch

1. Can the Sabres win a season opener?

The last time the Sabres won the first game of their season you have to go all the way back to the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. They defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on January 20th, 2013. Last season Montreal came into Buffalo and handed the club a 4-1 loss to a noticeably deflated Sabres team. We’ll see if they can flip the script on the Habs this season.

2. New and Improved Defense

The Sabres will debut their revamped defense group tonight. With Josh Gorges likely scratched only two players from last season’s team will dress on the blue line tonight. Marco Scandella, Victor Antipin, Matt Tennyson and Nathan Beaulieu are all expected to make their regular season Sabres debuts tonight. We’ll get a look at just how improved the defense is.

3. Can Jack Eichel keep up?

On the first night of the regular season, we saw two of the young stars in the league have big nights. Connor McDavid recorded a hat-trick in the Edmonton Oilers win over the Calgary Flames. While Auston Matthews recorded three points in the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-2 blow out of the Winnipeg Jets. Now, it’s Eichel’s turn to see if he can match their pace tonight. With a brand new contract and missing the opener last season, the 20-year-old star should be at the top of his game.

Projected Lineup

9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 23 Sam Reinhart - 25 Seth Griffith

22 Johan Larsson - 10 Jacob Josefson - 17 Jordan Nolan

55 Rasmus Ristolainen - 82 Nathan Beaulieu

6 Marco Scandella - 5 Matt Tennyson

19 Jake McCabe - 93 Victor Antipin

Starting Goaltender: Robin Lehner