Montreal’s only blemish during its current seven-game points
streak came at home to the Buffalo Sabres earlier this week.
The Canadians have a chance to avenge that loss as they host the
Sabres for the second time in five nights Saturday.
Montreal (20-5-5) avenged its only regulation loss in the last
19 games with a 5-2 road win over the New York Islanders on
Thursday. The Canadiens, who are 6-0-1 since that 6-3 loss to the
Islanders on March 5, now have a chance to pay back Buffalo
(12-15-4) after the Sabres left Montreal with a 3-2 overtime
“Obviously a run like this feels good but we know we have a lot
of work to do in improving our game,” said Montreal forward Max
Pacioretty, who had two assists Thursday. “If we want to be
successful we have to change a couple things in our game and get
better at it and hopefully we can keep doing that.”
The Canadiens have a two-point lead over Boston in the Northeast
Division and are on the heels of Eastern Conference-leading
Pittsburgh. Montreal is in the midst of a 4-0-3 home stretch but
has lost in a shootout and overtime to the Sabres since beating
them 6-1 at the Bell Centre on Feb. 2.
Buffalo’s Steve Ott scored in regulation and 2:16 into overtime
at Montreal on Tuesday. Ott had an assist and scored in the sixth
round of Thursday’s 5-4 shootout home win over Toronto.
“He was the guy to go to,” Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston
said. “He brings a lot of energy to the team and especially the
grit he plays with on a consistent basis. He can be put out in all
Ott has three goals in two games against the Canadiens, who hope
to halt Buffalo’s momentum by building on their latest victory.
Montreal trailed 2-1 on Long Island before scoring four straight
goals, including three in the third period. Defenseman P.K. Subban
had two goals and Michael Ryder scored his third for his 10th point
in 10 games since being acquired from Dallas last month.
“This was a big win for us,” said Montreal’s Carey Price, who
made 25 saves. “We wanted to rebound after that last game. I don’t
think we played particularity well in those first two periods, but
we came out really strong in the third.
“We’re really comfortable in tight games when we come out in the
third period. We have a group with an incredible will and work
ethic that allows us to overcome tough situations.”
Price has a 2.29 goals-against average while winning five of
six, but has yielded three goals in three of his last four against
Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek has three of his team-leading 14 goals
versus Montreal this season, but could sit out a second straight
game after he was struck by a shot in the right hip Tuesday against
Four points out of the final playoff spot in the East, Buffalo
is 6-5-3 since Rolston replaced the fired Lindy Ruff on Feb.
Subban has six of his nine goals in the last 10 games, but one
in 15 career contests against the Sabres.