Montreal - February 3, 2015 -
Who: Montreal Canadiens
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC
Know thine enemy: Incredibly, the Sabres have won two of three games this year against the Canadiens, who currently sit tied for second place in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference with 67 points.
There might not be a hotter player in the NHL thank Habs goaltender Carey Price. He was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week, going 3-0-0 with a 0.66 goals against average, a staggering .980 save percentage and a pair of shutouts, 1-0 wins against the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. He was a house of fire in January, going 7-1-1 with a 1.53 goals against and .951 save percentage. Facing a team like the Sabres, he will be as close to a figurative brick wall as it gets.
Offensively, the Canadiens continue to be led by arguably the most underrated scorer in the game in Max Pacioretty. His 23 goals lead the team, as do his 40 points. The Habs aren’t going to blow the doors off in terms of offense, but they have good depth and the ability to get you from just about anywhere.
About the Sabres: The streak is now up to 14 regulation losses in a row and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. They follow this game up with games against St. Louis, Dallas and the Islanders before getting a slightly easier stretch of Ottawa, Philly (x2) and Jersey. But honestly, with the way this team has played this season, they could run off an infinite losing streak.
This has kind of been epitomized by the decision to healthy scratch Cody Hodgson against Vancouver. He’s got just two goals and seven points in 48 games and has fallen off the map in terms of importance in the organization. No one is sure if it’s a thing with Cody or a thing where you just regress because your team is a glorified junior team. Either way, it’s wholly frustrating to see him struggle this hard.
Things are a horrible, horrible mess and there’s no fix coming this season. All that’s left is to hope that this leads to Connor McDavid and a much brighter future.
The last time these two met: During the Sabres’ improbable 10 wins in 13 games streak, they got some Brian Flynn heroics: a game-tying goal with six minutes to go and then the only goal in the shootout to give the Sabres the victory.
The part where I predict things: Let’s look at the math here: the Sabres are about as bad you can possibly be both currently and on an all-time scale while Carey Price has literally been unbeatable of late and the Canadiens are fighting hard for the division and a shot at the President’s Trophy. You tell me how this one is going to turn out.
Score: 3-0 Canadiens
Follow me on Twitter: @2PSBlog