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Sabres' Gorges, Gionta prepared to face former team

by Joe Yerdon /

CANADIENS (8-4-1) at SABRES (3-9-1)


BUFFALO -- The Montreal Canadiens will be facing a pair of familiar faces when they play the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Former Canadiens captain Brian Gionta and former alternate captain Josh Gorges will be playing against their former team for the first time since joining the Sabres in the offseason.

"It's always different the first time you play against your former team," Gorges said. "There are a lot of different emotions that get thrown into it. I talked about this [Tuesday], making sure I focus on doing what we need to do to win. That's the most important thing. You try not to think about it too much during the day [Wednesday]. You're going through your regular routine and wait for that puck to drop, because once that puck drops it's business as usual."

Gorges was traded to the Sabres by the Canadiens on July 1. Gionta signed with the Sabres as a free agent the same day.

"It was a great time for me," Gorges said of playing in Montreal. "Seven and a half years and I got to experience a lot, good and bad, ups and downs. We had turnover a couple different times. I met a lot of good people along the way within the organization, outside in the city. A lot of special moments for me from my time in Montreal."

Gorges had 13 goals and 88 points in eight seasons with the Canadiens; Gionta had 97 goals and 173 points in five seasons with the Canadiens. Gionta has one assist in 13 games this season while Gorges has zero points and three shots on goal in 13 games.

The Sabres haven't played since their 3-2 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday and won't make any changes to their lineup, which means Michal Neuvirth will start in goal.

The Canadiens held an optional skate following their 5-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Montreal on Monday. Forwards Rene Bourque and Travis Moen skated with defenseman Nathan Beaulieu; none of the three will play Wednesday.

Forward Jiri Sekac and defenseman Jarred Tinordi will replace Bourque and Beaulieu. Sekac, a rookie, will play for the first time since Oct. 18 against Colorado; he's been a healthy scratch the past seven games. Dustin Tokarski will start in goal; on March 16 last season he had 29 saves in a shutout of the Sabres.

Here are the projected lineups:


Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Dale Weise

Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Jiri Sekac - Lars Eller - Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

Michael Bournival - Manny Malhotra - Brandon Prust

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Tom Gilbert

Jarred Tinordi - Mike Weaver

Dustin Tokarski

Carey Price

Scratched: Rene Bourque, Travis Moen, Nathan Beaulieu

Injured: None


Torrey Mitchell - Tyler Ennis - Chris Stewart

Johan Larsson - Cody Hodgson - Drew Stafford

Matt Moulson - Zemgus Girgensons - Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers - Cody McCormick - Brian Flynn

Josh Gorges - Tyler Myers

Rasmus Ristolainen - Andrej Meszaros

Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Strachan

Michal Neuvirth

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Mike Weber, Andre Benoit

Injured: Marcus Foligno (undisclosed), Patrick Kaleta (jaw)

Status report: Foligno will miss his second consecutive game after getting injured against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. … Zadorov will play his third game of the season

Who's hot: Pacioretty has goals in two of the past three games. … Ennis has one goal and two assists in the past three games and is tied with Drew Stafford for the team scoring lead with six points.

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