Buffalo Sabres (23-38-12) vs. Montreal Canadiens (26-36-12)
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Season Series: 3-0 Canadiens
10/5: Sabres 2, Canadiens 3 (SO) (recap)
11/11: Sabres 1, Canadiens 2 (OT) (recap)
11/25: Sabres 0, Canadiens 3 (recap)
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Canadiens blog: Eyes on the Prize
What to Watch
1. A Losing Streak Will End
Both the Sabres and Habs have been having rough seasons. The Sabres, of course, are at the bottom of the league, but Montreal isn’t much better. Buffalo enters tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak, while the Canadiens have lost four in a row. Whose losing streak will end tonight?
2. The Injuries Continue
Linus Ullmark will start in net tonight and be backed by Robin Lehner, who has been out the last two games with an undisclosed injury. Chad Johnson, meanwhile, hasn’t officially been diagnosed with a concussion but is being kept out just in case.
Zemgus Girgensons looks to return to the lineup, but of course, there’s still a slew of Sabres on the injured list: Bogosian, McCabe, Criscuolo and Josefson.
3. Reinhart Doing Well
Sam Reinhart is (somewhat quietly) having himself a nice season. He’s put up 29 points (12-17) in his last 29 games and 16 points (6-10) in his last 16 home games. Overall, his 42 points this season are third on the Sabres behind Ryan O’Reilly (52) and Jack Eichel (54).
Know Your Opponent
1. A Rough Road Record
Montreal has been pretty bad on the road this season, going 9-24-4 away from Centre Bell. Of course, they’ve also won all three games against the Sabres so far this season, including Buffalo’s season-opener, but maybe the Sabres can take advantage of their home ice to secure a win.
2. The Price is...
Carey Price recently missed a month of game action due to a concussion but returned this week. It seems likely, however, that Antti Niemi will suit up in goal for the Habs Friday night, with Price coming in to play at home over the weekend instead.
Niemi is 5-4-4 this season with a .932 save percentage and 2.41 GAA.
3. Losing Time
Aside from their current four-game losing streak, the Habs have been struggling in the extended period, too. A loss tonight would be their 10th of their last 11 games. Their last win came in a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on March 13.
Projected Lineup (unconfirmed)
20 Scott Wilson - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 23 Sam Reinhart
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville
17 Jordan Nolan - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 13 Nick Baptiste
67 Benoit Pouliot - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo
6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
45 Brendan Guhle - 41 Justin Falk
82 Nathan Beaulieu - 8 Casey Nelson
Starting Goaltender: 35 Linus Ullmark