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Sabres, Canadiens face off for second time in six days

by Brian Hunter

CANADIENS (6-3-0) at SABRES (3-6-1)


Season series: Second of five meetings between these Northeast Division rivals. Rene Bourque and David Desharnais each scored a pair of goals and Carey Price stopped 31 shots as Montreal routed Buffalo 6-1 this past Saturday afternoon at Bell Centre.

Big story: Although the Canadiens missed out on an opportunity to leap both the Bruins and Senators into first place in the Northeast when they lost to Boston on Wednesday night, they're still off to a better-than-expected start after finishing 15th in the Eastern Conference last season. As for the Sabres, their loss to the Habs five days ago started them on a current three-game skid.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: It would have been difficult to script a better first 40 minutes in Montreal on Wednesday -- except, perhaps, an insurance goal or two for the Canadiens. They got a power-play goal in the second period from P.K. Subban, in his third game since signing a new contract, and Price was pitching a shutout. The Bruins turned things around in a hurry once the puck dropped on the third, however. Tyler Seguin knotted the score just 14 seconds in, and David Krejci provided the decisive tally 1:51 later as the Habs were dealt a difficult 2-1 defeat.

"We're not going to be outclassed by any team. We've got a good team," captain Brian Gionta said. "We're confident no matter who we play against, we just didn't play our best tonight."

Sabres: Since its rough afternoon in Montreal last weekend, Buffalo has dropped a pair of one-goal decisions to Florida and Ottawa. Ryan Miller figures to be back in net for the Sabres on Thursday after Jhonas Enroth got his second start of the season against the Senators on Tuesday. His night didn't start well, as Erik Karlsson, Chris Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson all scored in a six-minute span of the first period to put the Sabres behind the eight ball. Jordan Leopold had a goal and an assist in their attempted rally, but it came up short in a 4-3 loss.

"It's so hard -- you guys know it's so hard to come back and win games when you're down," said Jason Pominville, who scored in the third. "Ottawa's defense clogged up the lanes and they collapse in their zone. [Ottawa] was down a few games before we arrived, but they stuck with it and found a way."

Who's hot: Subban has a point in each game he's played this season, having picked up an assist in his first two games before Wednesday's goal. Despite the loss, Price has stopped 83 of 87 shots over his last three starts, a .954 save percentage. … Thomas Vanek was held off the score sheet for the first time all season on Tuesday, but still leads the League with 11 assists and 19 points. Cody Hodgson has two goals and five assists in the last four games, while Pominville has three goals and three assists in the last five.

Injury report: Montreal forward Petteri Nokelainen (back) is on injured reserve. … Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was out of the lineup Tuesday with an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Andrej Sekera (ankle) is day-to-day. Defenseman Robyn Regehr (lower body) and forwards Ville Leino (hip) and Patrick Kaleta (neck) are on injured reserve.

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