NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 17th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (23-25-10) at Buffalo Sabres (24-27-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Given their current place in the Eastern Conference standings, the Montreal Canadiens weren't happy with just getting one point in their last trip to the ice.
The Habs try to avoid a third straight loss this evening and also snap a six- game slide to the hosting Buffalo Sabres.
Montreal has dropped its past two games after winning four in a row, but did pick up a point on Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout loss to Boston. The Canadiens were fortunate to even get a point after trailing by two goals in the third period, getting goals by Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole in the frame. Cole's game-tying tally came with 8:48 left in the third, but the Bruins nabbed the only goal of the shootout.
With the Canadiens eight points behind the Maple Leafs for the East's eighth and final playoff spot, getting one point just wasn't enough according to Pacioretty, who has five goals in his last four games.
"I'm sorry to say, when we don't come out with two points at this time of the year, it's so frustrating," said the forward. "We know we could have gotten two points because of the way we played in the third. We can't let games like that go because of our situation."
Cole scored a goal in his third straight and game and added an assist, while Carey Price made 31 saves.
Montreal will head to Buffalo with defenseman Yannick Weber in tow. Weber has missed the past four games with a lower-body injury and could return to action this evening.
The Canadiens will need all the help they can get in trying to pick up their first victory over the division-rival Sabres since Nov. 27, 2010. Montreal is 0-3-3 since that win in this series, getting outscored 9-4 in the three meetings so far this year.
All three of those setbacks came in Montreal, though the Habs have also dropped six of their past nine in Buffalo.
Price has been on the hook for all three losses this year despite a 1.96 goals-against average in that time, while Pacioretty had two goals and four points in the three games.
Eight different players have scored in the season series for the Sabres, with Derek Roy also notching three assists. Ryan Miller has won two of the games in net for Buffalo, giving up two goals on 69 shots.
Miller was slated to get last night off in Philadelphia, but a rough go of things early in the second period for backup Jhonas Enroth caused Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff to put his starter in the game. It mattered little as Buffalo was handed a third straight defeat in a 7-2 decision against the Flyers.
Enroth stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first, but was tagged for three goals on seven shots in the second. Miller relieved him early in the period and ended up allowing four goals on 17 shots.
Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek scored first-period goals for the Sabres, but the Flyers countered with seven unanswered goals.
"In the first I think we had control. We were doing some good things. We were generating chances, we weren't giving up much," said Pominville, who has a goal in three straight and points in six in a row.
Buffalo has been outscored 13-4 over its three-game slide and now sits just one point ahead of Carolina for last place in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes are also in action this evening.
The Sabres play the first of four in a row at home.
02/17 10:45:48 ET