NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 28th
(All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (36-30-8) at Montreal Canadiens (38-27-9), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens continue a five-game homestand
tonight with a matchup against the Buffalo Sabres, who will aim to keep their
postseason hopes alive at the Bell Centre.
Montreal lost the opener of this residency last Saturday against Toronto, a
fifth straight loss that knocked the Canadiens down in the standings. The club
has responded with back-to-back wins and is currently eighth overall in the
Eastern Conference, two points up on Florida and two back of the New York
Rangers with eight games to go.
Buffalo, 10th overall in the East, is five points behind Montreal.
The Canadiens snapped their losing streak with a 6-3 win over Atlanta on
Tuesday and followed up the next night with a close 3-2 overtime victory
against Tampa Bay.
Montreal blew a two-goal lead, but Saku Koivu rescued his club with a game-
winning goal 1:45 into overtime. He fired a shot off the glove of a sliding
Karri Ramo before pushing his rebound through the crease, then off Matt
Lashoff's skate and into the net.
Alex Kovalev, who had two goals and an assist versus Atlanta, and Guillaume
Latendresse also scored for the Canadiens, who improved to 3-3-2 since general
manager Bob Gainey abruptly fired head coach Guy Carbonneau and took over
behind the bench on March 10.
Carey Price stopped 17 shots for Montreal, which was without leading goal
scorer Andrew Kostitsyn due to flu-like symptoms. Kostitsyn, who has 23 goals
this year, is questionable for tonight.
Montreal will wrap its homestand on Tuesday versus Chicago and is 23-8-6 as
the host this season.
The Sabres kept their fading playoff hopes alive with a 5-3 win over Toronto
on Friday night and can breathe life into their goal with another victory in
Ryan Miller returned from a 13-game absence last night to make 33 saves, but
the win wasn't an easy one. The Sabres led 4-1 in the contest before the Maple
Leafs made it a one-goal game, but Paul Gaustad scored with 9:04 left in the
third to restore the two-goal edge.
Tim Connolly scored twice, while Jochen Hecht and Gaustad both registered a
goal and an assist for Buffalo, which has won two straight following a four-
game slide. However, the Sabres begin a three-game road trip this evening and
have dropped seven straight as the guest.
Buffalo, 14-17-5 as the road team this year, hasn't won away from western New
York since February 17 in Toronto.
The Sabres have won three of five (3-1-1) versus the Canadiens this season,
but have lost three straight and seven of their last eight trips to Montreal.
Tonight is the final regular-season game between the clubs this year.
03/28 10:32:56 ET