BUFFALO - Here are five things you need to know ahead of Thursday night's matchup against the Sabres at the KeyBank Center.
1. The Canadiens' return from their extended break didn't go as planned. Claude Julien's contingent dropped a 4-2 decision to the Washington Capitals on Monday night at the Bell Centre. Jeff Petry scored his seventh goal of the season in the loss, and fellow blueliner Marco Scandella collected his first point in a Habs uniform on the play. Veteran Dale Weise, who was playing his 500th career NHL game, also scored for the Canadiens. It was his first goal in the League since December 27, 2018. Carey Price, meanwhile, turned aside 36 of the 39 shots he faced.
2. This will mark the second matchup between the Canadiens and the Sabres this season. Buffalo won the first encounter 5-4 in overtime on October 9 at the KeyBank Center. Marcus Johansson scored the game-winner. Forward Joel Armia had a strong game. He scored two goals and collected an assist. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and defenseman Ben Chiarot also scored for Montreal. The Canadiens haven't earned a victory in Buffalo since March 23, 2018. The two teams will meet again at the Bell Centre on March 12 and March 24.
3. After missing the last six games with headaches, Brendan Gallagher should return to the Canadiens' lineup versus Buffalo. Gallagher, who has 15 goals and 32 points in 41 games this season, hasn't played since January 9 against Edmonton. He should be featured at his usual spot on the top line with Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar. Julien indicated that any additional lineup decisions will be made before the start of the game.
4. The Sabres were most recently in action on Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators. Ralph Krueger's squad dropped a 5-2 decision on home turf. Sam Reinhart and captain Jack Eichel scored for Buffalo. The Sabres also lost the services of goaltender Linus Ullmark during the third period. Eichel leads the club in goals (29), assists (34) and points (63). Reinhart ranks second with 18 goals and 42 points. Rookie Victor Olofsson, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury, sits third with 35 points. Carter Hutton will get the start in goal for the Sabres.
5. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. You can watch the game on TSN2 and RDS, and listen to all the action on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm. The Canadiens will be back in action at the Bell Centre on Saturday afternoon (Florida Panthers) and Sunday afternoon (Columbus Blue Jackets) in conjunction with Tim Hortons Family Weekend. To purchase tickets to the contests in Montreal, click here.