Sabres vs. Canadiens preview: Fan Appreciation Night
The Sabres play their final home game tonight as the Montreal Canadiens come to town.
Buffalo Sabres (32-35-12) vs. Montreal Canadiens (46-24-9)
Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m. EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
TV: MSG, SN | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation’s Canadiens Blog: Eyes on the Prize
1. Will the Sabres show fans some appreciation with their play on the ice?
The team is running plenty of off-ice promotions for their Fan Appreciation night, including giving away free One Buffalo sunglasses, the jersey-off-my-back giveaway, big discounts on some concessions and at the Sabres store, a 50/50 raffle worth $50,000, and other small giveaways throughout the night.
But I think the things that their fans would appreciate the most would be to see the Sabres score some goals and win the dang game. A repeat of Monday's abysmal performance against Toronto would be a complete embarrassment, and even a game like Sunday, where they control much of the action but still lose would be a disappointment. C'mon, boys, send the fans who've stuck with you through four sad years in a row home happy.
2. Who will win the team's end-of-year awards?
Tonight's pre-game ceremony will also feature the team awards, which are voted on by all players. Here's our best guess on who wins:
Sabres Foundation Man of the Year: Brian Gionta
Unsung Hero: Marcus Foligno
Rookie of the Year: William Carrier
MVP: Jack Eichel
3. How will Lehner respond to his performance on Monday?
Robin Lehner played one of his worst periods of the season on Monday (to be fair, so did the rest of the team) and was pulled after giving up three goals on just five shots. Ouch. Tonight he gets a chance to redeem himself in front of the home crowd, but he'll need to have a strong performance as Montreal is one of the stingiest teams in the NHL in terms of goals allowed.
Projected Buffalo Lines
9 Evander Kane -- 90 Ryan O'Reilly -- 12 Brian Gionta
82 Marcus Foligno -- 15 Jack Eichel -- 23 Sam Reinhart
63 Tyler Ennis-- 71 Evan Rodrigues -- 70 Alexander Nylander
44 Nicolas Deslauriers -- 28 Zemgus Girgensons -- 26 Matt Moulson
77 Dmitry Kulikov — 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
41 Justin Falk -- 47 Zach Bogosian
4 Josh Gorges -- 6 Cody Franson
Goal: 40 Robin Lehner