Canadiens-Sabres Preview

The Montreal Canadiens were victimized by a hot goaltender in

their last game.

Another meeting with the struggling Buffalo Sabres may get the

offense going again.

The Canadiens look to rebound from a recent defeat as they

attempt to beat the Sabres for the second time in less than a week

Thursday night.

Montreal (6-3-0) is scoring 3.0 goals per game, but the team has

totaled that while splitting the last two. The Canadiens’ latest

effort resulted in a 2-1 loss to Boston as 20 of their shots were

saved by Tuukka Rask, who has a 1.96 goals-against average.

“For me, the important thing is that we’re getting quality

chances,” coach Michel Therrien told the team’s official website.

“It’s going to happen in the NHL where you’re facing a goalie

that’s playing really well. It’s not a matter of will. I think we

worked hard to create those chances.

“There are just nights the puck goes in and there are nights the

goalie’s going to make the save.”

That certainly wasn’t the case against the Sabres (3-6-1) on

Saturday, when Montreal pounded them 6-1.

Despite the loss, Buffalo is 8-1-1 in the past 10 meetings with

its Northeast Division rival, but much of that success is aided by

stellar performances from Ryan Miller.

The 2009-10 Vezina Trophy winner surrendered four goals on 21

shots through two periods against the Canadiens last week before

being pulled for Jhonas Enroth, who allowed two scores on 11

attempts.

Miller had been 6-0-1 with a 1.12 GAA and two shutouts over his

previous seven starts against them.

The Sabres give up a league-high 3.7 goals per game – 4.3 during

a 1-6-1 stretch.

Enroth didn’t help Tuesday, making 20 saves in a 4-3 loss at

Ottawa as Buffalo’s slide reached three games.

He’s lost both of his starts with a 4.75 goals-against average,

while Miller is 1-4-1 with a 3.67 GAA in his last six.

“We need better goaltending. There’s no secret to that,” coach

Lindy Ruff said. “I think (Enroth) will admit that he has to have a

couple of those. Now you have to look to bounce back. I tried to

let him bounce back in the game and I thought the team answered the

bell.

“Right now we’ve got to worry about winning a game, whatever

that takes.”

It’ll likely take improvement from Miller, who should be back in

net. He’s 3-0-1 with a 1.45 GAA and a shutout in the last four home

meetings with Montreal.

Thomas Vanek leads the NHL with 19 points, but he’s looking to

get back on the scoresheet after his season-opening eight-game

scoring streak came to an end Tuesday.

The left wing found the net against Montreal last week, getting

just his second goal over the past 22 games versus the Habs.

P.K. Subban is giving the Canadiens some added scoring punch in

three games since returning to the team after signing a two-year,

$5.75 million contract Jan. 28.

So far, the layoff doesn’t seem to be an issue since the

defenseman has managed a point in each of his first three

games.

Subban got his first goal Wednesday, and had an assist against

Buffalo on Saturday in his season debut. However, that was just his

third point – all assists – in 13 career meetings with the Sabres,

and he has one in six road matchups.