Buffalo is coming off a rough, nationally televised loss to the Washington Capitals. Now they will take on one of the hottest teams in the NHL in the Montreal Canadiens, who are fresh off a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
The teams have met twice already this season. On February 2nd Montreal hammered the Sabres in a 6-1 victory. The Sabres emerged as the victors in a 5-4 shootout. Thomas Vanek, Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno have three points in the two games. Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque have 4 points apiece in the two games.
Buffalo has struggled mightily on the power play this season and is last in the league in power play scoring. Motreal has a mediocre penalty kill and an effective power play. The two teams both struggle on faceoffs, ranking near the bottom of the league.
Montreal relies on balanced scoring to win games. Only two players on the Canadiens’ roster have more than 20 points (Max Pacioretty and newcomer Michael Ryder) and one player who is more than 10 goals (Tomas Plekanec has 12). They do have 13 players on the roster that are currently in the double digits in point totals.
The Sabres have a balanced scoring problem. They cannot seem to get more than one line rolling for any given game. It was Cody Hodgson’s turn on Sunday as the young forward notched two goals. They will need the top line to continue production and the depth players to fill in scoring as well.
Ryan Miller will likely get the not for Buffalo. He has had a rough couple of games in the Buffalo crease and his numbers are suffering because of that. Carey Price’s numbers are not a ton better, but his team continues to support him and get wins.
Buffalo will hope for the return of Andrej Sekera, who was replaced by Mark Pysyk in his NHL debut. They may also restore Patrick Kaleta to active status. The two teams drop the puck at 7:30 PM EST on Tuesday, March 19, 2013.