MONTREAL - Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. The 2017-18 regular season gets underway for the Canadiens on Thursday night.
The Habs are coming off back-to-back wins to finish the preseason, beating both the Florida Panthers (3-1) on Friday and the Ottawa Senators (9-2) on Saturday at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens went 2-1-1 against Buffalo last season.
On Tuesday, Montreal unveiled its opening night roster, which came as an early Christmas present to a trio of youngsters in the Habs' system: Charles Hudon, Jacob De La Rose and 19-year-old Victor Mete all got the news they'd be starting the year with the big club.
The game will be extra-special for Mete. In addition to having his friends and family come down from the Toronto area for the game, the Ontarian will have the distinction of playing his first NHL game in the same arena in which he was drafted.
A slew of other Habs will be making their debuts in bleu-blanc-rouge, namely Jonathan Drouin, Karl Alzner and Ales Hemsky.
Carey Price will be the starter for the visitors.
As for the Sabres, they finished the preseason with a 1-4-1 record. Their last preseason game was a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders, on Friday.
The tilt will mark head coach and former Sabres defenseman Phil Housley's debut behind the Buffalo bench. Housley, who as assistant coach helped Nashville reach the Cup Finals this past spring, is expected to start Robin Lehner in nets.
Jack Eichel was hurt for last year's opening game against the Canadiens, but he will dress this time around, just days after signing an eight-year contract extension with the Sabres.
Thursday's game will mark the first time former Hab Nathan Beaulieu faces off against his old team.
Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on television on TSN2, RDS and MSG-B, and on the radio on TSN 690 and 98,5 fm.