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Pressure Points

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD -- With only a handful of games left in the regular season and intensity ramping up all around the League, the Habs get set to face one of the most desperate teams in the East when the Sabres visit the Bell Center.


Only three points up on the Carolina Hurricanes, the eighth-seeded Sabres will hit the Bell Centre with a do-or-die attitude for Tuesday night’s game – a style of play the Canadiens have been seeing more and more of from their opposition as the season continues to wind down.

Gameday: Andreas Engqvist

“We saw how the Rangers came out and played on Friday and we’re going to have to expect the same thing from Buffalo tonight. We’re trying to catch Boston right now and earn ourselves that home-ice advantage, but they have two games in hand on us, so we obviously can’t hold back at all tonight. We really have to push it and make sure we get those two points,” stressed Habs blueliner James Wisniewski fresh off netting a goal and an assist Sunday night in St.Paul.

“This week is huge. All the teams we’re going to be going up against have been playing great. Playoff hockey has already started at this point and this is going to be a huge test for us.”

Despite registering his first career hat-trick and added an assist in that Habs’ latest game versus the Wild, rookie defenseman P.K. Subban was quick to defect attention away from himself and direct it instead towards the bigger picture.

“Individual stuff isn’t my focus right now. I’m just happy to see the puck go in for us in any situation that helps the team, and we were pretty fortunate to come out on Sunday and get the win the way we did. Our team’s been doing a great job of playing D all season long and really doing the right things on the ice. It’s not just one or two guys making the difference, but all five guys that are out there,” explained the 21-year-old who was more than happy to find himself reunited with defensive partner Hal Gill in Minnesota after the Habs’ veteran rearguard was sidelined for two games with the flu.

“It makes a huge difference when you have someone with that kind of experience, who’s won Stanley Cups, showing you how to prepare, how to react to things and how to think before a game. It’s really the kind of stuff that let’s you become better as a player.”

Following his team’s lopsided 8-1 victory over the Wild, Canadiens head-coach Jacques Martin will be employing an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” strategy against the Sabres, with the only change in Montreal’s lineup coming in the form of center Andreas Engqvist being called up from Hamilton to replace Aaron Palushaj.

“Buffalo is a well-balanced team with great goaltending and we know what to expect from them,” said Martin of the tight game likely to take place between two teams who’s last meeting was decided by a 10-round shootout. “We’re still battling and chasing Boston for first place in our division and this is a big week for us with three very difficult opponents. It’ll be interesting to see where we stand at the end of the week.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.



ALSO SEE:
Gameday Comments: Wiz | Cammalleri | Engqvist | Gill | Gionta | Subban | Martin
Habs sign Joe Stejskal to a two-year contract 
Habs call up Engqvist, assign Palushaj to Hamilton 
Subban named 3rd star of the week
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