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Game Preview: Canadiens @ Sabres

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (16-6-1) @ SABRES (6-14-2)

After enjoying an extended break, the Canadiens will be back in action on Friday night when they play the first game of a home-and-home against the Buffalo Sabres.

The tilt at the First Niagara Center will mark the start of a busy stretch for Michel Therrien’s troops, who will play six games over the next nine days, the majority of which will be played away from the friendly confines of the Bell Centre. The Canadiens will return home immediately after Friday night’s game to play host to the Sabres on Saturday night, before hitting the road for four games against Western Conference opponents.

The Habs will be looking to get off to a strong start against Buffalo after dropping a 5-0 decision to the New York Rangers in their most recent outing last Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Tuesday, Eric Tangradi will make his Montreal Canadiens debut on Friday night.

Carey Price will get the start in goal on Friday night. Therrien hasn’t named his starter for Saturday night’s contest as of yet.

For their part, the Sabres had their three-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night when they suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. Prior to the defeat, Buffalo had bested the Toronto Maple Leafs, the San Jose Sharks and the Washington Capitals, to register their first winning streak of the year.

Over the course of their last four outings, Ted Nolan’s contingent has given up just six goals. That’s a significant improvement from the beginning of the season when the Sabres ranked last in the NHL in goals against per game. They now sit 26th in that category.

Buffalo still boasts the worst power play in the league, having clicked just 6.2 percent of the time on the season. They’ve also scored the least amount of goals per game (1.59), and they’re the only team in the NHL that lights the lamp less than two times per game.

Josh Gorges, who has been sidelined since November 11 with a lower-body injury, will not return on Friday night. Defenseman Tyler Myers will be back in the Buffalo lineup after missing the game against Winnipeg with a lower-body injury.

In their last meeting on November 5, the Canadiens bested the Sabres 2-1 in a shootout on a goal by Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. Dustin Tokarski earned his second win of the year.

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