Sunday, October 17

Canadiens in Sabers: Five Things You Need to Know

Both teams have question marks on the goal. Montreal doesn’t have Carey Price, while Buffalo has Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski.

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Here are five things to know about the Canadiens-Sabers game at KeyBank Arena on Thursday (7 pm, TSN2, RDS, TSN-690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

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The match: This is the first game of the season for the Sabers as the Canadiens are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Maple Leafs in their first game Wednesday night in Toronto. The Canadiens generally have a lot of support from fans crossing the border from southern Ontario, but that won’t be the case in this game because the US border remains closed to non-essential travelers. After playing in front of a near-capacity crowd at Scotiabank Arena, the sparse preseason crowd in Buffalo suggests there will be plenty of empty seats.

Question marks on the goal: Both teams start the season with question marks on the goal. With Carey Price going through the NHL / NHLPA player assistance program, Montreal is relying on backup Jake Allen and the recent addition of Samuel Montembeault. Allen played well in the loss to the Leafs, and while the Canadiens like to split the job in back-to-back situations, don’t be surprised if Allen gets another call in Buffalo. After losing free agent Linus Ullmark when he signed a four-year deal with Boston, the Sabers turned to Craig Anderson, 40, and former Canadiens prospect Dustin Tokarski. Buffalo doesn’t believe in spending money on goalkeepers – Anderson and Tokarski’s combined cap is $ 1.475 million.

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Drouin, defense off to a good start: Jonathan Drouin, who took a break to deal with anxiety, successfully returned to the ice on Wednesday when he scored Montreal’s only goal in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Toronto. Drouin, Josh Anderson and newcomer Christian Dvorak made up the Canadiens’ most dangerous line, combining for 11 of the team’s 32 shots. The Canadiens had a strong defensive effort led by goalkeeper Jake Allen, but the power play was a major disappointment. Montreal went 0-for-4 with the extra man and only managed one shot on goal when they held a 5-on-3 lead for 1:44 in the third period.

Sabers without Eichel: Former Sabers captain Jack Eichel probably played his last game for the Sabers. Eichel, who was the consolation prize behind Connor McDavid in the 2015 draft, has been stripped of his captaincy and is awaiting a trade as he tries to fix his neck injury. Eichel and the Sabers came to a standstill over treating the injury. Sabers medical staff wants him to have fusion surgery, while Eichel wants to have a disc replacement, a procedure generally reserved for lower back problems.

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The other types: The offensively challenged Sabers have just two players who scored double digits in goals last season. Victor Olofsson scored 13 goals and had 32 points, while Carey Mittelstadt scored 10. Buffalo hopes to rebound seasons from Jeff Skinner, who is capped at $ 9 million but managed just seven goals and seven assists, and Kyle Okposo, who scored two. goals in 35 games before his season ended with a broken cheekbone. The Sabers have a quality defense in Rasmus Dahlin, but this is a team clearly in the running for another quality draft pick.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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