Game #58

Canadiens vs. Buffalo

Niagara Center – Feb. 17/2012 – 7:35pm


Game Notes –

……This will be the Sabres third game in four nights.   They lost to New Jersey Tuesday and the Flyers Thursday, their second and third losses in a row.  They were outscored 11-3 in the two games.   Sunday they will play Pittsburgh at home.

……Since January first, only Evgeni Malkin has scored more NHL goals than Max Pacioretty.  Pacioretty has 14 goals in 19 games.  Malkin has 17 in 19 games.

…..Carey Price has started every contest during the six-game skid against Buffalo.  Not much more he could do.  His goals against average is 1.79  during that span.

…..None of the last nine games between the Canadiens and Buffalo has been decided by more than two goals with five decided by one.  Three of the previous six meetings have gone to overtime, two decided by shootouts.

……The last time the Canadiens won a game in Buffalo was Nov. 5/2010;  a 3-2 victory (Benoit Pouliot-2 goals/Jeff Halpern-1g,2assists).

……In the last six meetings the Canadiens are 0-3-3 and have scored a total of seven goals.

……The Sabres have been outscored 13-4 during a three-game skid that’s followed a 5-0-1 stretch. .

……The Sabres gained a playoff berth last season by finishing their year with a 16-4-4 record moving them from tenth to seventh place in the final 24 games.

……Ryan Miller has appeared in eleven straight games.  He had a season-high run of 10 straight starts ended in Philadelphia, but wound up in the game in relief, giving up the last four goals on 17 shots..

…..After starting the season 8-3-1, Buffalo backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth is 0-7-2 in his last nine starts.  He started (but did not finish) Thursday night’s 7-2 loss in Philadelphia. his first start since Jan. 18.   Enroth’s  last victory was Nov. 26 against Washington.

…..Miller has won four in a row vs. the Canadiens allowiing a total of three goals.

……Buffalo has allowed just seven goals during its six-game winning streak over the Canadiens, four of which have come in three meetings in 2011-12.

……The last five games between the teams have been played at the Bell Centre.   The last time the Canadiens played in Buffalo was a 2-1 overtime loss Jan. 18, 2011.

……The Canadiens lead the NHL in penalty killing (88.9 percent overall and 91.9 percent on the road). Buffalo is 20th on the power play —  1 for 24 in the last nine games (0 for 6 Thursday in Philadelphia); 4 for 47 since January first.

……The Canadiens have lost 279 man-games to injuries this season.  With 23 games still remaining, it is already the highest season total since  2000-2001 when they lost a record 531 man-games and missed the playoffs with a 28-40-14 record.

Nothing has been right with the Sabres since the Miller/Lucic collision in November which put Miller out with a concussion.  At the time the Sabres were off to a 10-5 start.  Since, they are 14-22-6.  Even then Miller had been strugglng with a 1-5-0 record and a 4.16 GAA in six starts.   Miller now ranks  34thh among goalies in goals-against average and save percentage.

The Hard Cold Stats –

Season Record –  Canadiens – 58GP (23-25-10) 56pts. 13th in Eastern Conference     Buffalo – 57GP  (24-27-6) 54pts. 14th in Eastern Conference.

Last Ten Games –   Canadiens (5-4-1)     Buffalo (5-4-1)

Last Time Out – Canadiens lost to Boston 4-3 in a shootout Wednesday after coming from behind to tie the game with two goals in the third period.    Buffalo lost in Philadelphia 7-2 Thursday.   The Flyers scored the game’s last seven goals.

Season Series – Fourth of six games.    Oct. 18, 2011 @Bell Centre  Buffalo-3 Canadiens-1.  Canadiens outshot Sabres 41-23.   Ryan Miller in goal for Buffalo.    Thomas Vanek’s goal with 2.8 seconds remaining in the second period was the game winner.  Also Leopold and Ehrhoff (ENG).  Raphael Diaz scored his first NHL goal.  Three Stars – Miller, Max Pacioretty (9SOG); Diaz.    Nov. 14/2011 – @Bell Centre – Buffalo-3 Canadiens-2. (shootout)   Canadiens blow 2-0 third period lead.  Pominville and Roy score in third period after Cole and Pacioretty gave the Canadiens their lead.  Pacioretty also had an assist. Vanek and Boyes score in shootout.   Three Stars – Boyes, Pacioretty and Cole.      Jan. 31/2012 @Bell Centre – Buffalo-3  Canadiens-1  Leino, Gaustad (plus 2 assists) and Kaleta (ENG).  Pacioretty for the Canadiens  Sabres outshot Canadiens 40-28.  Ryan Miller’s 234th victory tieing Dominik Hasek’s franchise record.

Vs. Eastern Conference – Canadiens (19-20-6)    Buffalo  (17-21-6)     Vs. Northeast Division – Canadiens (6-6-4)   Buffalo (8-4-3)

Home/Road –  Canadiens on the Road (12-13-2)   Buffalo at Home (13-11-6)

Special Teams – Power Play – Canadiens ranked 29th  13.5% (29/215)  Buffalo ranked 20th – 16.4%  (31/189)    Penalty Killing – Canadiens ranked first – 88.9%  (25/226)  Buffalo ranked 22nd – 80.8% (38/198)

Goaltending – Canadiens – Carey Price  %0GS (21-20-9) 2.36GAA  .917save%  4-shutouts.       Buffalo  –

Who’s Hot –  Canadiens – Erik Cole – goal in each of last three games.  Last four 3g, 2ass.   Max Pacioretty – five goals, one assist last four games.  12goals, 4 assists last 14 games.    David Desharnais 1 goal 5 assists last four games.Buffalo – Jason Pominville 5 goals 2 assists last five games.  .

The Missing – 
    CanadiensTravis Moen (upper-body); RW-Michael Blunden (IR-knee arthroscope); RW-Brian Gionta (IR-biceps surgery); Andrei Markov (IR-knee arthroscope); C-Petteri Nokelainen (IR-upper body).         Buffalo – C-Cody McCormick (upper body);   C-Jochen Hecht (concussion); D-T.J. Brennan (IR-flulike symptoms); RW-Corey Tropp (IR-upper body).