Montreal Canadians against buffalo sabers
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As the clock ticked down to zero Saturday night, it looked like the Montreal Canadiens were about to duplicate what had happened in Columbus. For the second game in a row, the Habs scrambled to regain parity after seeing their opponent lead by two goals. For the second game in a row, the other team had stabbed the hopes of the Canadiens and their fans when it seemed that the bleu-blanc-et-rouge he had seized the momentum.
Not so fast, Nick and Cole said.
The eventual victory on penalties, ripped from the jaws of defeat, snapped a two-game losing streak for the Canadiens. Now, as the schedule moves towards American Thanksgiving, the Habs will try to continue their winning ways against the Buffalo Sabres.
tale of the tape
|45.8 (25)||Scoring Opportunities for %||52.3 (eighth)|
|3.06 (19)||goals per match||3.44 (9th)|
|3.50 (26)||Goals against per game||3.67 (29)|
|18.0% (27)||PAGES%||23.3% (tenth)|
|81.4% (8th)||PACKAGE%||70.2% (29)|
For the Sabres, Montreal is the last stop on a three-game Canadian road trip. The last time these two teams met, almost a month ago, the Canadiens emerged with a 3-2 victory at the Empire State. Since then, the two teams have gone their separate ways. Montreal is a modest but still encouraging 5-4-1, but Buffalo has gone 3-8-0 and arrives in La Bella Province having gone not only winless, but also pointless in their last eight games.
Much of the Sabers’ problems lie at the feet of their netminds. Through its first 10 games, Buffalo enjoyed .912 shooting and seven wins. Since then, it’s been .847 and eight losses. Throughout the season, Eric Comrie has been the starter for the Sabres. However, he is gone for several weeks after suffering an injury last Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators. Now, Buffalo must decide between 41-year-old backup Craig Anderson (who has an .881 save percentage in his last four appearances) or rookie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (who allowed five goals on 23 shots last Saturday against the toronto maple leaves). By the way, Habs fans may be more familiar with Luukkonen than Anderson, as the Finn faced the Laval Rocket on October 28 of this year, a game Laval won 8-1 and Luukkonen was pulled after allowing six. goals.
The Sabers also haven’t been helped by an offense that has gotten drier than the Sahara. After scoring 54 goals in its first 14 games, Buffalo has managed just eight in its last four, half of them in a 5-4 loss to the vancouver canucks. The team clearly has offensive weapons: Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin are still above a points-per-game pace, while Alex Tuch is just below that threshold. But after losing eight in a row, the Sabers just need someone, anyone, to put the puck in the net.
For the Canadians, on Saturday night against the philadelphia flyers it just reinforced the main theme of this season thus far: this team lives and dies by Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. The Canadiens captain has 23 points in 18 games and has amazingly added two points six times in his last eight games. On the other hand, Caufield’s double against the Flyers broke a mini-slump in which sharpshooter Habs had only lit the lamp once in five games. Secondary scoring has been a seemingly perpetual problem, but things could be changing: Christian Dvorak, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher and Mike Hoffman have scored in the last five games, and Mike Matheson can also contribute from the blue line.
Speaking of Matheson, his introduction forced Jordan Harris out of the lineup for Saturday night, and it remains to be seen if Harris will be reintroduced for Arber Xhekaj or Johnathan Kovacevic, or if Martin St-Louis will choose to stick with a winner. line up. If Monday’s practice is any indicationthe pride of Costco Ancaster might be the odd one out.
Tuesday night will be tempting for both teams. For Buffalo, with the St Louis Blues, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay LightningY colorado avalanche all looming over their next five games, the Canadiens represent arguably their best scoring opportunity in a long time. If they don’t, a nine-game losing streak could quickly turn into a season-destroying 0-13 streak. The Canadiens, by contrast, will fly to Columbus after the game for a rematch with the Blue Jackets on Wednesday night, making Buffalo probably their best chance to win before Thanksgiving.