Carey Price is healthy, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the Canadiens. The Montreal Canadiens limp into Buffalo on a four-game losing streak and just one win in their last ten games. They are a team lost in the ocean without a paddle. If you think the P.K. Subban trade didn’t do something to this franchise, then you are sorely mistaken. The departure of Subban completely sucked the wind out of the organization, not only from a talent perspective on the ice, but a leadership position as well.
Shea Weber was never a bad player, but he hasn’t contributed much to the Canadiens, and is not the kind of leader Subban was in Montreal. There was some animosity between head coach Claude Julien and Subban. Something had to give, and the Canadiens went shopping to replace him. Julien should have been the one given a look at by management. I realize his success in Boston with the Bruins, but they may need a change.
There would certainly still be issues in Montreal even if Subban was present. He wouldn’t be having the same enjoyable time he’s having in Nashville at the moment. There is a lot to be desired offensively for the Canadiens. The firepower on the Habs is limited. It isn’t something that Subban alone could fix. Price hasn’t played lights out, and the result is a porous record of 26-36-6. With the playoffs out of reach, and the season in the toilet, there isn’t much reason to play Price. However, this locker room looks out of sync, and sitting a healthy Carey Price down would look foolish. They head to Buffalo to take on the 23-38-10 Sabres. Head below for our free Canadiens vs. Sabres pick.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
The Sabres have been expected to be a breakthrough team since Eichel was drafted. There have been several teams who have had coming out parties in 2017-18, but the Sabres haven’t been one of them. It’s been a frustrating year in a campaign that Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly were really supposed to take over and bring a playoff team to Buffalo. That hasn’t exactly happened, but as a silver lining, the Sabres will once again have a high pick in the draft. Buffalo ranks dead last in the league, with 2.36 goals scored per game for 31st. Linus Ullmark will get the call tonight after Chad Johnson went down in a 4-1 loss against the Coyotes. Bad loss by a bad team delivered by another bad team.
Ullmark has played better than Johnson and Lehner in a limited role this season, but he hasn’t gotten the biggest workload thus far. He holds a 2.40 GAA and 0.933 save percentage. The rest of the reason is essentially an audition for him. He has to show that he belongs at the top-level in the NHL. The Canadiens are not far back of the Sabres in the goals department, as they’re 29th in the NHL with only 2.47 goals per game. Like I said, there isn’t much offence to get excited about in Montreal these days. With only 1.9 goals per game in their last ten games, and one win in ten games, it appears they’ve given up this season. Eight of their last ten meetings resulted in less than 6 goals. A 3-2 final looks like a pretty accurate assessment in Buffalo here.
PICK: UNDER 5.5 (-110)