The Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens meet in a rematch of a 4-3 win for the Sabres on October 25th. It was a close game, with the Sabres getting a late Kyle Okposo goal on a power play to get the puck past Niemi. The Canadiens are coming off a shootout win over the Islanders and a loss against the Rangers in New York.
So, they split their trip to New York, but it could have been much better if they didn’t botch a 2-goal lead at Madison Square Garden. They crawled out of a 2-goal lead against the Islanders, and then coughed it up vs the Rangers. It was a tied game late before the Rangers took the lead and then they tacked on another one past Carey Price.
Back home on Thursday night, the Canadiens will look to bounce back against a team that recently got the best of them in Buffalo. The Habs got off to a great start against the Rangers, as Max Domi impressed again with a goal on his first shift.
In 82 games for the Coyotes last season, Domi potted just 9 goals. In only 15 games with the Canadiens, just about a month of action, Domi has already matched that with 9 goals. He’s instantly helped a team who ranked at the back of the league in scoring to near the top thus far. Price has to start showing up in net, and the Habs might have something brewing in Montreal. If he plays an average game against the Rangers, his team likely wins. Price has been off and he’s going to be a guy they need if they want to be playing hockey in April. Head below for our free Sabres vs. Canadiens pick.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick
The Canadiens have shown tremendous progress thus far this season. Really, and most surprisingly, their problem has been getting Carey Price into a groove. Price has been the centrepiece of this team since he took over as the starting netminder in Montreal, but he’s been showing some concerns between the pipes. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to get excited about this up-tempo offence if you’re a Canadiens’ fans.
The offence finished with a lackluster 1.96 goals per game a season ago. The team they’re playing tonight, the Sabres, were the only team worse in that regard. Flash forward to today and the Habs are scoring 3.28 goals per game for 8th in the league. Domi’s shooting percentage has gone from 6% with the Coyotes to 28.13% in Montreal. Those are some significant improvements for the Canadiens. Marc Bergevin can relax, at least for a minute because he’s off the hot seat presently.
Buffalo have been able to show some progress as well. It maybe hasn’t been as noticeable as the Canadiens, but the Sabres should get some credit. They’ve gone from last in the league to scoring 2.87 goals per game, 22nd in the league. Not the same progress the Habs have made, but they’re at least a team fans can go and watch in Buffalo.
The Sabres have gone 3-4-1 on the road this season. Price does get an opponent where he should be in for a stat lifting game. He’s been excellent against the Sabres with a 1.94 GAA and 0.935 save percentage in 36 games. The Sabres are also 1-4 in their last five trips to Montreal. I’d look for the Canadiens to get the win back they lost in Buffalo a couple of weeks ago.