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Preview: Sabres at Canadiens

Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe out with shoulder injury; forward Alex Galchenyuk heating up for Montreal

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

SABRES (18-18-9) at CANADIENS (28-13-6)

7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, MSG-B, NHL.TV


Sabres team scope

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe did not make the trip because of a right shoulder injury he sustained during a 3-2 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. The Sabres, who did not have a morning skate, recalled defenseman Casey Nelson from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Saturday. Coach Dan Bylsma had to shuffle his defense pairs on the fly against Detroit after losing McCabe, who played two more shifts after he was injured, but left before the end of the first period and did not return. Rasmus Ristolainen played a career-high 35:24, including all 4:34 of overtime, and Zach Bogosian played a season-high 29:51. "It's really a lot of mix and match there throughout the game, and I thought at times we gave our defensemen too much to handle there, in the second period in particular," Bylsma said. "... They had to play some tough defense against their skill forwards, and I thought those guys were up to the task, all five of them." Forward Kyle Okposo, who scored the winning goal with 26 seconds left in overtime Friday, has three points (two goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak and needs one point for his 400th in the NHL. 


Canadiens team scope

After failing to score a power-play goal in their previous three games, the Montreal Canadiens scored a season-high three in a 3-1 win at the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Center Alex Galchenyuk scored his 11th goal in the first period and assisted on goals by defenseman Shea Weber and left wing Max Pacioretty 38 seconds apart in the third. Left wing Alexander Radulov, who will play in his 200th NHL game Saturday, had a season-high three assists for his third three-point game. "Special teams mean so much coming down the stretch and heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs," Weber said, "so trying to get some chemistry going and help the team win a game is a big thing," It was Galchenyuk's first multi-point game since Nov. 22, when he had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Center Phillip Danault played on Montreal's top line instead of Galchenyuk, who played his first three games with Pacioretty and Radulov after returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for 18 games. "Everyone was making a big deal about if I had lost my rhythm or game or stuff like that," said Galchenyuk, who centered a line with Sven Andrighetto and Andrew Shaw at even strength. "I knew going in I had to just play my game." The Canadiens are 3-4-0 in their past seven games after going 4-2-0 in their previous six.


Sabres projected lineup

Tyler Ennis -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Brian Gionta

Matt Moulson -- Cal O'Reilly -- William Carrier

Zach Bogosian -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Justin Falk -- Cody Franson

Casey Nelson -- Taylor Fedun

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Nicolas Deslauriers

Injured: Jake McCabe (right shoulder), Josh Gorges (hip), Johan Larsson (wrist), Dmitry Kulikov (lower back), Cody McCormick (blood clots)


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Paul Byron

Sven Andrighetto -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Shaw

Jacob De La Rose -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn

Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jeff Petry

Mark Barberio -- Zach Redmond

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Daniel Carr, Ryan Johnston

Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), Andrei Markov (groin), David Desharnais (knee), Greg Pateryn (ankle)


Status report

With Gorges and Kulikov out, Falk is the only left-handed shot remaining among Buffalo defenseman in the wake of McCabe's injury. ... Price, who did not play Friday, will make his 35th start.   


Who's hot

Eichel has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past three games. … (two goals, two assists). O'Reilly had a goal and an assist Friday.

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