BROSSARD – The Sabres are in town and the Canadiens are looking to pick up a big two points within the Northeast division.
After a double-dose of Western conference competition, the Habs will host the Sabres on Tuesday night in their second intra-division match-up of the year. The retooled Buffalo squad will be making their first regular season Bell Centre appearance since acquiring Robyn Regehr and Christian Erhoff over the offseason.
“We expect a huge game tonight. We know that playing these guys is never easy. They have a lot of skill and a lot of depth up front,” expressed Josh Gorges who will be paired with P.K. Subban against the Sabres.
“This is a team that likes to play a bit more of a run-and-gun style of hockey. For us to be successful we can’t get caught up in a shootout-style game with these guys because they’re too talented for that,” continued Gorges, who is currently leading the Habs with 14 blocked shots. “We have to play a hard working, gritty style and try to make this a game along the boards and in front of the net. We have to be ready to work from the puck drop right to the final buzzer.”
Starting their season off with an extreme road trip that included crossing the pond to face the Ducks and Kings in Helsinki and Berlin, the Sabres are hoping to get back on a roll after going 1-1 since their return to North America.
“I made that trip last year so I know what that can kind of do to you physically and mentally, dealing with the time change and everything,” pointed out former Hurricanes winger Erik Cole, who will be relied on for another physical game after throwing a game-high six hits on Saturday night. “I’m sure they’ll be looking at tonight as a way to keep getting back on track after going overseas, so we need to play our game and focus on consistency.”
Set to play his 999th career NHL game on Tuesday, Hal Gill knows that the key to a Canadiens win will be 60 solid minutes of unified team effort.
“This is going to be a big challenge for us. We know who we’re going up against; we know a lot of things about this team. On our end, we just have to be ready to jump on the ice and make sure we execute all those little things that we keep discussing,” mentioned the 36-year-old defenseman.
“Buffalo is a very well balanced team. But like I said, if we play the way we know we can and we use our speed to push them back deep into their own zone, we can make sure the game gets set to our tone and not theirs.”
Lines at practice:
Gill-Diaz Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.ALSO SEE:Accountability Give and take The Numbers Game - Oct. 15, 2011 On This Special Night