If you want an example of why you should never take the first month of the season seriously, take a look at the Montreal Canadiens. They opened the season up going 9-0, 11-2 through their first thirteen games. That tremendous start to the season has gone all for waste. The Habs are really lucky that they did have that start, because they would be well under .500 at this point. The fall of the Canadiens can largely be accredited to the loss of Carey Price. Price is that good, and he could have had the Habs looking like a contender at the break. But they are now in danger of falling to .500 with a loss against the Sabres tonight. The Canadiens enter with a record of 24-23-1 and have lost three straight. Last night the Flyers got the better of them with a 4-2 win. They have gone 2-8 in their last ten games. Both of those wins came by 1 goal, including a shootout win against the Maple Leafs.
The defense has been getting toyed with and the Canadiens are in in desperate need of Carey Price. However, the Habs are going to need to look ahead into the future for that. Reports indicate that Price will not be available for another month. What felt like was only going to be a few weeks on the shelf, and an impeding return after the All-Star break, has turned into a season long struggle. Mike Condon is not Carey Price as we have come to see. The Habs will give Condon the night off after their tilt with the Flyers last night. In his spot will be Ben Scrivens. The former Maple Leaf, who has bounced around from Edmonton to Montreal, will look to stop the bleeding tonight. The Leafs made a dire decision by departing with Tuukka Rask years ago, but it looks like they made the right choice with Scrivens. The last time these two have tangled, the Canadiens took the Sabres out to the shed in a 7-2 beat down. Montreal needs another game like that tonight.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL Pick
While the Canadiens are trending down, the Sabres are heading up. The results won’t be felt too much at the end of this season, as they won’t be a playoff team. Nevertheless, the Sabres appear to be a team that is heading in the correct direction. They made, what looked at the time as a too expensive deal, a good transaction by acquiring Ryan O’Reilly from the Colorado Avalanche. The 24 year old has 17 goals and 23 goals for the Sabres. He and Jake Eichel could prove to be a dynamic duo for the Sabres in the future. They are already entering that territory. At 20-26-3 the Sabres will have to make some more good moves this offseason to improve, but I do see O’Reilly and Eichel continuing to improve.
The defense has been all kinds of problems for the Canadiens. A team which has always been at the top of the league defensively with Price in net, have 14 goals in their last three games. The Habs have allowed a whopping 3.50 goals per game in their last ten games. They are 21st in the NHL in goals against. The Sabres are 18th in that regard. The offense hasn’t been there for them either. Scrivens comes into tonight with a 0-4 record and 3.84 GAA. If he gets lit up tonight his future is going to be on shaky ground. With a total of 5 and Scrivens in net, the OVER is certainly worth a look for tonight.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-115)