The Habs begin a four-game series in six nights this evening in Buffalo.
Here are five things to watch for this matchup.
1. Second straight start for Jake Allen
Given his impressive performance against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, Jake Allen will find himself in front of the Canadian net for the second straight game. In 11 games against the Sabers, Allen had a 7-3-1 record, a 2.31 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
Martin St. Louis: “He played very well against the Capitals. He gave us a chance to win. He deserves another start.”
2. The Caufield touch
Cole Caufield picked up where he left off last year, before a shoulder injury ended his season. The star forward has scored at least one point in each of the Canadiens’ first four games, scoring a goal in three of them. One point tonight would allow him to reach 90 points since the beginning of his career (in 127 games). Over the past 25 years, only Michael Ryder has reached that plateau faster in Montreal (118 games).
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3. Same training
Martin St. Louis will not be making any changes to his training. Which means Joel Armia, who was called up on Friday, will watch a second game from the bridge.
4. Saber youth
If the Canadian fields the second-youngest team at Pitman Arena, the Sabers won’t be left out. Mattias Samuelsson (23), Rasmus Dahlen (23), Dylan Cousins (22) and Owen Power (20) are all 23 or younger. Additionally, they are all under contract at least through the end of the 2029-2030 season. Therefore, the future is promising at Beau Fleuve.
Rasmus Dahlin: “I really wanted to sign a long-term contract because I believe in what we are doing here. It is a good group. It will be fun to be able to build something with them. I think we are capable of doing something great.”
5. Jeff Skinner has the Canadian number
If there’s one player on the Bateman circuit who would love to take on the Canadian, it’s Jeff Skinner. Eleven times during his career, the 31-year-old forward has had nights with more than one point against the Habs. On two occasions, he even collected five. That was on February 13, 2022 (4 goals, 1 assist) and November 22, 2022 (2 goals, 3 assists).
Possible lineup for the Canadiens against the Sabres:
Caufield – Suzuki – Harvey Benard
Pearson Monahan Gallagher
Peseta – Evans – Ilonen
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