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Preview: We Meet Again

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Sabres and Canadiens get together for the third time so far this season

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Game #24

Buffalo Sabres (6-13-4) vs. Montreal Canadiens (8-12-3)

Season Series: 10/5 - Canadiens 3, Sabres 2 SO | 11/11 - Canadiens 2, Sabres 1 OT

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | Bell Centre | Montreal, QC

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Canadiens blog: Eyes on the Prize

What to Watch

1. Jack’s Heating Up

Jack Eichel has turned his game up over the last week. After some early season struggles, the 21-year-old has been dominate player we remember watching the past two years. He has points in three straight and goals in two straight.

2. Shutdown Pair

Enough can’t be said for how well Marco Scandella and Rasmus Ristolainen shut down Connor McDavid and his last night. Ristolainen stepped right in and played over 27 minutes after missing a few weeks with an injury. The Sabres defense as a whole is starting to get healthy and looks a lot better than what we saw just last week. Zach Bogosian is even creeping closer to making his season debut.

3. Okposo starting to make a difference.

Kyle Okposo was struggling harder than anyone on this team over the first quarter of the season. Since his demotion to the fourth line (perhaps can be classified as the third line now) he’s had two of his best games of the season. He has three points in his last two games playing with Jordan Nolan and Jacob Josefson. The trio has played very well since they became a thing against the Minnesota Wild.

Know Your Opponent

1. The Return

Carey Price will make his return to the net tonight for the Canadiens. He’s been out since November 2nd with a lower-body injury. Price is the face of the Habs and if he’s playing well that means his team is playing well.

2. Shorthanded on Defense

While the Sabres will get the unfortunate luck of facing Price tonight. They’ll get a break with Shea Weber not playing tonight. The big defenseman has battled with a lower-body injury the last few weeks.

3. Rebuild on the horizon?

There’s been a lot of chatter around Montreal that the Habs are headed for a rebuild in the very near future. Price, Weber and Max Pacioretty have all seen their name in the rumor mill recently. Marc Bergevin also seems to be living on borrowed time. Another rough month and we could see some big changes on the way.

Projected Lineup

9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville

67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 22 Johan Larsson - 51 Kyle Criscuolo

17 Jordan Nolan - 10 Jacob Josefson - 21 Kyle Okposo

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

19 Jake McCabe - 93 Victor Antipin

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 41 Justin Falk

Starting Goaltender: 31 Chad Johnson (Unconfirmed)