Buffalo vs. Canadiens
Bell Centre – March 23/2013 – 7:15pm
Game Notes –
…Against the Sabres on Tuesday Tomas Plekanec won 15 of 25 faceoffs and became the only regular centrre to reach the 50% plateau for the season (148/148). He turned around and won only 7 of 23 against the Islanders Thursday (30%). Hence, the Jeff Halpern waiver claim.
…During his 2010-2011 season with the Canadiens, Jeff Halpern was the only centre over 50% in faceoffs, winning 56.9% of 596 attempts. Last season with Washington he had 58.3% faceoff win percentage, 5th best in the league. This season in 30 games with the Rangers he is at 56.7 percent, making him the model of consistency.
…An irony. It was Halpern who Jacques Martin selected to take a defensive zone face off against David Krejci at 5.43 of overtime in the 7th game of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against Boston. Halpern lost the faceoff and Nathan Horton scored the series-winning goal. In that game, Halpern won nine of thirteen faceoffs and 30 of 41 in the series (73.2%).
…..The Canadiens have lost one of their last 19 in regulation time (14-1-4) taking 32 of a possible 38 points. Overall they have at least a point in 25 of 30 games. They are looking for their 21st win. Last season it took 54 games to win their 21st.
…..The Sabres have won two straight games this week, beating the Canadiens in overtime and Toronto in a shootout. They are now within four points of 8th in the Conference. They have points in 9 their last 12 games (6-3-3).
….Steve Ott has the winning goal in the Sabres last two wins, scoring in overtime against the Canadiens and in the 6th round of the shootout against Toronto.
….P.K. Subban leads the NHL in goals with nine. Six of his nine goals have come in the last 10 games. He has only one in 15 career games against Buffalo.
….Michael Ryder has ten points in ten games since being acquired from Dallas. Including his last six games in Dallas, Ryder’s line reads – 16 GP – 5 goals, 14 assists – 19 points.
…The Canadiens have lost six of their last seven games against the Sabres at the Bell Centre. Since the beginning of last season the Sabres have won seven of nine games overall. Five of the games have gone into overtime. Over their last 12 meetings overall the Sabres have won 10 times.
…Carey Price has a 2.29 goals-against average while winning five of his last six starts.
…In Ryan Miller’s last nine starts against Montreal he is 7-1-1 with a 1.81 GAA. He has given up four goals in each of his two starts against the Canadiens this season. He was pulled after two periods in his last game at the Bell Centre February 2nd after giving up 4 on 21 shots . He is 1-3-1 with a 3.98 goals-against average over his last five starts including a 5-4 shootout victory vs. Toronto Thursday.
…The Sabres have given up three or more goals in nine of their last eleven games. They have 11 one-goal losses.
…Tomas Vanek scored twice against the Canadiens on February 7th. At the time he was leading the league with 10 goals and 11 assists through 11 games. In his 19 games since he has 4 goals and 6 assists and has 2 goals in his last twelve.
…Vanek returns to the lineup after missing the game in Toronto. He took a Christian Ehrhoff slapshot off his hip in the Montreal game Tuesday.
…Jason Pominville has three goals in his last 14 games and one (in Toronto Thursday) in his last nine.
Game Statistics –
Season Records – Buffalo – (12-15-4) 5th in Northeast Division Canadiens (20-5-5) First in Northeast Division – 2nd in Eastern Conference.
Last Ten Games – Buffalo4-3-3 Canadiens 7-1-2
Season Series – This is the fourth of five & second in four days. The Sabres have won the last two meetings, once in a shootout and once in overtime. @Bell Centre Feb.2 Canadiens-6 Buffalo-1. Rene Bourque and David Desharnais with two goals each. Carey Price stopped 31 shots. @Buffalo Feb.7 Buffalo-5 Canadiens-4 (shootout). Tomas Vanek scored twice in the third period including the tieing goal with 2 seconds left. Jason Pominville won the game in the shootout. Ryan White’s double minor for roughing Steve Ott led to a power play goal that started the Buffalo comeback. Tomas Plekanec scored twice for the Canadiens along with Gallagher and Subban. Peter Budaj was in goal facing 40 shots. @Bell Centre Mar. 19 – Buffalo-3 Canadiens-2 (overtime) – Steve Ott scored on an overtime power play after P.K. Subban was assessed a penalty for high sticking defenceman Mark Pysyk. It was Ott’s second goal of the game. The Canadiens came back from a 2-0 first period deficit to tie the game on third period goals by Pacioretty and Armstrong. The Canadiens outshot the Sabres 34-21 including 16-6 in the third period. Jhonas Enroth in goal for Buffalo. Price for Canadiens.
Home/Road – Buffalo on the Road – (6-9-2) Canadiens at Home – (9-3-3)
Special Teams – Power Play – Buffalo ranks 30th 14/113 12.4%. Canadiens rank 9th 28/134 20.9%. Penalty Killing – Buffalo ranks 25th 27/122 77.9%. Canadiens rank 17th 22/112 80.4%.
Goaltending – Buffalo – Ryan Miller – 27GP (10-13-4) 2.99GAA .906save% Canadiens – Carey Price – 24GP (16-4-4) 2.34GAA ,911save%
Who’s Hot – Buffalo – Steve Ott has two goals and an assist in his last two games, has Cody Hodgson -two goals and two assists in his last three games; Ehrhoff – goal and two assists vs. Toronto. against Toronto on Thursday Canadiens – Tomas Plekanec– four goals and five assists in his last nine games; Subban – six goals and seven assists in 10 games this month.
Injuries – Buffalo – D-Alexander Sulzer (knee surgery); D-Andrej Sekera (upper body) Canadiens –D-Raphael Diaz (IR-concussion), D-Yannick Weber (IR-knee strain); LW-Rene Bourque (IR-concussion) C-Ryan White (lower body); LW-Brandon Prust (shoulder separation)