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Preview: Sabres return home to host the red-hot Canadiens

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Can the Sabres cool Montreal’s surprisingly hot start?

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 10

Buffalo Sabres (5-4-0) at Montreal Canadiens (5-1-2)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | KeyBank Center | Buffalo

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR550

SB Nation Montreal Canadiens Blog: Eyes on the Prize

Know your Opponent

Montreal Canadiens

Record: 5-1-2 | 12 PTS

Last 10: 5-1-2

Division Ranking: 1st in the Atlantic Division

Conference Ranking: 3rd in the Western Conference

PP: T-16th (20.6%)

PK: 16th (77.8%)

What to Watch

1.) Skinner’s Bringing the Heat

Jeff Skinner has been a lights-out goalscorer these last two games, netting 4 goals. Hard to argue with that kind of performance to close a long road trip. Even better news for the Sabres? Skinner has 17 points in 25 career games against the Canadiens. Expect him to keep the heat turned up on Thursday night.

2.) Sabres Power-Play

Thursday night’s game against Montreal will mark the 13th matchup of Jack Eichel’s young career. In 12 career games, Eichel is goal-less with only 4 assists. Will Thursday be the moment Eichel breaks through or will we have to wait another day for an Eichel goal against the Canadiens?

3.) Familiar Faces in the Lineup

Whenever the Buffalo Sabres take on the Montreal Canadiens, it begins to feel like Alumni Night at the arena. In Montreal’s projected lineup are three former Sabres forwards. Joel Armia, Paul Byron and Nicolas Deslauriers have all had time playing with the Sabres and it always feels like these three turn their games up a little more when they find themselves playing Buffalo.

Buffalo Sabres projected lines

Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Jason Pominville

Conor Sheary - Vladmir Sobotka - Sam Reinhart

Evan Rodrigues - Casey Mittelstadt - Kyle Okposo

Patrik Berglund - Johan Larsson - Zemgus Girgensons

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Marco Scandella - Zach Bogosian

Rasmus Dahlin - Casey Nelson

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (unconfirmed)

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines

Tomas Tatar - Phillip Danault - Brendan Gallagher

Jonathan Drouin - Max Domi - Artturi Lehkonen

Paul Byron - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Joel Armia

Nicolas Deslauriers - Matthew Peca - Andrew Shaw

Karl Alzner - Jeff Petry

Xavier Ouellet - Jordie Benn

Mike Reilly - Noah Juulsen

Starting Goaltender: Antti Niemi