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Struggling Sabres Take on Hapless Habs

Buffalo and Montreal square off in a less than Super Sunday matinee

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

Game 47

Buffalo Sabres (14-24-8) vs. Montreal Canadians (8-32-7)

Puck Drop: 12:30 PM | Bell Centre | Montreal, QC

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Canadiens Blog: Eyes On The Prize

Know Your Opponent

Montreal Canadians Record: 8-32-7 | 23 PTS

Division Ranking: 8th in Atlantic Division

PP: 31st (13.8%)

PK: 29th (73.4%)

What to Watch

1. Time to Rebound

The return from the All-Star break was great for 45 minutes on Thursday, but the last 15:16 left much to be desired. Buffalo was the better team most of the night but couldn’t bring it home. Today, they have a great chance to put that disappointment behind them against the worst team in the league. Montreal has looked nothing like last season’s Cup final reaching team. Without Price and Weber, the team has looked lost and is the only NHL team without double digit wins. If there was ever a time to bust out of a slump and gain some confidence (looking at you Olofsson), now is the time.

2. No Rest for the Weary

Not only is Montreal winless in their last 9 games (0-7-2), but they also lost a heartbreaker to Columbus (sounds familiar) Saturday afternoon and play the Sabres about 24 hours later. With no crowd to get their adrenaline pumping and little to play for other than pride, the cards seem stacked against the Habs. However, never count out a team with nothing to lose. Buffalo is known to give up early goals or soft goals at inopportune moments. These are the kinds of swings in momentum that could tip the scales toward the Canadians. Buffalo needs to play smart and prevent this downtrodden team to generate hope in what has been a hopeless place this season.

3. Top Line on a Tear

Most of the team might be a question mark most nights, but the top line of Skinner, Thompson, and Tuch has been consistently dominant in every game they play. In their last 5 games, the tall boys Tuch and Thompson have 4 and 7 points respectively. Skinner has also played well even if some bounces haven’t gone his way. He scores in bunches, so watch for him to bury some soon with his linemates on fire. Look for this line to be dangerous nearly every shift against a weak, fatigued Montreal defense.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Skinner - Thompson - Tuch

Krebs - Cozens - Olofsson

Asplund - Eakin – Okposo

Bjork - Jankowski – Hayden

Defense

Dahlin - Jokiharju

Hagg - Pysyk

Samuelsson - Fitzgerald

Starter: Anderson

Montreal Canadiens

Forwards

Lehkonen - Suzuki - Toffoli

Hoffman - Byron – Gallagher

Pitlick - Evans - Anderson

Armia - Poehling - Caufield

Defense

Romanov - Chiarot

Kulak - Petry

Clague – Wideman

Starter: Montembeault (projected)