The Montreal Canadiens hit the road with some confidence in their stride. For a team not expected to amount to much, the Canadiens enter Buffalo with a record of 5-1-2 which looks pretty nice at the moment. The key in that sentence is at the moment. They could just as easily lose a few games in a row and then they’re suddenly clinging to stay above .500. There isn’t much need in reading too far into slow starts by good teams, and hot starts by teams not expected to be any good.
Both of which may come true, but everything can look a whole lot different in just a few weeks. You can ask the Arizona Diamondbacks about that, who were playing well and destined for the postseason, before collapsing in the final month and no one talked about them again. It’s easy to get fooled by early season starts and letting it impact your betting down the road.
The moral of the story here is that while the Canadiens are looking good right now, that could change pretty quickly. In any event, they’ve been good from the opening puck drop on opening night against the Maple Leafs. Their speed surprised the Leafs from the get-go and it’s carried over as the season has progressed.
Max Domi’s ability to play centre has worked out well for the Habs. They roll into Buffalo feeling plenty good, but there’s a Sabres team on the other side who are coming home with some positive vibes as well. The Sabres dumped the Kings and Ducks out west to advance to 5-4-0 on the season. It’s time for Jack Eichel to breakout and lead this team to at least have a chance at the playoffs at the end of the season. They added Kyle Okposo to help out a couple of years ago, but he’s gotten off to a slow start with just a goal and 4 assists. Head below for our free Canadiens vs. Sabres pick below.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
The Canadiens haven’t looked too sad that Max Pacioretty was traded to Vegas. They’ve certainly looked faster without him if anything else. The Habs are averaging 3.25 goals per game, with 3 goals scored in each of their last three games. For consistency, the Canadiens have scored 3 goals in each of their previous two games against the Sabres as well, each resulting in 3-0 wins.
They’ve won the last four meetings against the Sabres, but their opponents figure to be a better team than in the past. Montreal will be going with their backup in net tonight. Carey Price gets the night off for a job well done, while veteran Antti Niemi, who has appeared in two games this year, will get the call. Niemi has been average with a 2.88 GAA and 0.893 save percentage.
He is a decent backup at this point in his career. It likely provides the Sabres with an opening to win this game. They are much happier to see Niemi in net, rather than Price between the pipes. After winning four of their last five games, and playing five of their last six games in Montreal, this looks like an epic letdown spot for the Canadiens. Expect the Habs to lose a step on the Sabres on the road in this spot. One of their losses came on the road to the Senators this season, a game that they didn’t really show up to play in. It will likely be more of the same in Buffalo on Thursday.