Game #74

Canadiens vs. Buffalo

First Niagara Center – Mar.21/2012 – 7:05pm


Game Notes –

….. The Canadiens haven’t lost in regulation in two weeks, going 3-0-3 in their last six.  Their record is March is 4-2-3.

……On February 17th the Sabres were beaten by the Canadiens 4-3 in a shootout; their fourth straight loss dropping Buffalo into a tie for last place in the Eastern Conference, nine points out of a playoff spot.  The Sabres have responded by going 10-2-3  to move within two points of eighth-place Washington.

…… In the last eleven meetings between the clubs,  no game has been decided by more than two goals.  Seven by one goal and five of the last eight games have gone to overtime.  The Sabres have gone 7-0-1 in their last eight games against Montreal.   Their last regulation loss to Montreal was a 3-1 defeat in the Bell Centre on Nov. 27, 2010.

…..Last time out the Sabres Monday night beat the Lightning 7-3  in Tampa Bay.  The Canadiens lost to the Islanders Monday in a Bell Centre shootout.

…. The final nine games of the Sabres season includes four games against the top four teams in the East (Rangers, Bruins, Flyers, Penguins); four games against non-playoff teams (Maple Leafs twice, Canadiens, Minnesota); and the important matchup with Washington next week.

….Ryan Miller, who is 7-1-2 with a 2.15 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last 10 starts, is 5-0-1 with a 1.31 GAA and a shutout in his past six versus Montreal.

….Carey Price  has a 1.94 GAA in his last seven starts against the Sabres but is 1-3-3.  He is 3-6-1 with a 2.77 GAA in his last 10 starts

….With two weeks to go, every indication is that Jason Pominville will lead the Sabres in goals this season, which would mark the first time that Thomas Vanek hasn’t been the team leader in tallies since the 2005-06 campaign.  Pominville has 27 goals and 39 assists and four goals and three assists  his last seven games.

….Defenceman Tyler Myers will return from serving a three game suspension for his hit on Scott Gomez.  Gomez has been out of the lineup since with a concussion. The Sabres went 1-0-2, collecting four of six points during Myers absence.

…The Sabres line of Tyler Ennis – Marcus Foligno – Drew Stafford has 11 goals, 25 points and combined plus-22 rating since Foligno’s recall from Rochester five games ago.

…..Marcus Foligno has five goals and two assists with a plus-6 rating in six NHL games.In Sabres history, the only Buffalo players with seven or more points in their first six NHL games were Phil Housley (9) and Ray Sheppard (7) both teammates of Foligno’s father Mike.   Among active NHLers, the only other players who scored five goals in their first six career games were Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (7) and Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne (5).

……The Sabres called up Travis Turnbull on emergency basis Tuesday night and the 25-year-old forward could make his NHL debut .  Turnbull, a free agent signee in 2009 from the University of Michigan, is the son of former Canadien forward Perry Turnbull.

……The Sabres lead the NHL in overtime/shootout affairs with 21, and a league leading 14 at home.  The Sabres are 11-10 overall in OT, 6-8 at home.  Three of the five games against the Canadiens this season have gone to overtime.

The Hard Cold Stats –

Season Records – Canadiens  73GP (28-32-13) 69 pts. 15th in Eastern Conference     Buffalo  73GP (34-29-10)  69pts.  9th in Eastern Conference.

Last Ten Games – Montreal 4-3-3      Buffalo 6-2-2

Home/Road –  Canadiens on the Road (15-17-4)    Buffalo at Home (18-11-6)

Season Series –    Sixth and final meeting.     Buffalo is 4-0-1 against the Canadiens.   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.  @ Buffalo Feb.17/2012 – Canadiens-4 Buffalo-3 (shootout)  Kaberle, Gomez and Campoli for the Canadiens.  Regehr, Myers and Ennis for Buffalo.  Pacioretty and Desharnais scored in the shootout.  The Canadiens end six game losing streak against the Sabres.  Canadiens outshot 30-19.    At the time, the loss sent the Sabres to the cellar of the Eastern Conference.Three of the previous five matchups have gone past regulation, with Buffalo winning all three overtime games for a  4-0-1 record.  @Buffalo – Mar.12/2012 – Buffalo-3 Canadiens-2 (overtime).  .  David Desharnais scored the tying goal with five seconds left in regulation.  Tyler Myers scored 2:01 into overtime.  Myers was subsequently suspended for three games for a dangerous hit on Scott Gomez.  Peter Budaj in goal for the Canadiens.

Special Teams – Power Play – Canadiens – ranked 27th 14.8% (39/264)  Buffalo – ranked 20th  16.3% (38/233)   Penalty Killing – Canadiens – ranked first   89.5%  (29/276)   Buffalo – ranked 17th   81.3% (43/236)

Who’s Hot – Canadiens – P.K. Subban has 9 points in his last nine games;  Erik Cole has 5 points in his last five games.   Buffalo – Jason Pominville – 4 goals, 3 assists last seven games;  Tyler Ennis has 4 goals and 5 assists in his current five-game point streak;   Marcus Foligno has 5 goals and 2 assists in five games since being called up from Rochester. I

The Missing Canadiens – RW-Brian Gionta (IR-bicep surgery);  LW-Travis Moen (IR-upper body); LW-Mathieu Darche (IR-concussion); D-Raphael Diaz (groin);  C-Scott Gomez (concussion);  D-Tomas Kaberle (upper body)     Buffalo – C- Jochen Hecht (IR-concussion);  LW-Matt Ellis (knee); LW-Nathan Gerbe (upper body); RW-Patrick Kaleta (upper body)