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Montreal Canadiens

Gameday #2 – Canadiens vs Sabres – Lines, Notes, How to Watch



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed this afternoon that goaltender Samuel Montembeault will make his Canadiens debut tonight when they take on the Buffalo Sabres in the second game of a back-to-back to start their season.

Montembeault was claimed off of waivers from the Florida Panthers just a few days before the Habs announced that goaltender Carey Price would be checking into the NHL/NHLPA’s joint player assistance program.

“I’m definitely excited”, the Becancour, QC native said last week about the opportunity to play for his boyhood club.  “…It’s definitely going to be special.  But for me it doesn’t change anything, I still have a job to do… I just have to be ready when I get the chance to play to do the job and prove that I can be the second goalie.”

Soon after meeting the media, Montembeault was shelled 6-2 on the road by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Canadiens fourth pre-season game.  In fairness to him, he was one of the few Habs players to show up as the team in front of him at Scotiabank Arena was listless.

The former Blainville-Boisbriand goalie has a record of 9-8-3 in 25 NHL regular season games, 19 of those as a starter.  He’ll have big pads to fill tonight after an excellent season debut from goaltender Jake Allen, who kept the Canadiens in the game in the second period of their opening night loss to Toronto.

Ducharme also confirmed that there will be no further changes to the lineup that lost 2-1 in their season opener last night to the Leafs.  He touched on his team’s struggles on the power play post-game, particularly a lengthy 5-on-3, the main reason why they couldn’t come back in the third despite an impressive start.

“I didn’t like our pace,” Ducharme told reporters last night. “Our pace, our intensity to get out of the pressure… I think that’s the difference tonight for sure.  Having a 5-on-3 in the third period trailing by one, you need to capitalize on that.”

Centreman Adam Brooks will have to wait to make his Habs debut after being claimed on waivers from the Maple Leafs on Monday

Here are your projected lines for the Montreal Canadiens for Game 2 of the season tonight against the Buffalo Sabres


Toffoli – Suzuki – Caufield

Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson

Armia – Evans – Gallagher

Lehkonen – Paquette – Perreault


Kulak – Petry

Chiarot – Savard

Romanov – Wideman





After another summer of constant turmoil for the Buffalo Sabres, they will begin the post-Jack Eichel era at home tonight against the Habs.

Eichel is still a member of the team but after a drawn out summer which included a trade request, trading barbs back and forth in the media and the medical dispute between he and the team regarding his neck injury no closer to being resolved, the end is a metter of when, not if.  General manager Kevyn Adams announced on September 23rd that the team had stripped Eichel of the captaincy as they continue to try and work out the terms of a deal the Sabres deem acceptable.

The Sabres are expected to once again be in the cellar of the NHL standings and real players for the Shane Wright sweepstakes at the top of the draft.  But they did turn a corner emotionally last season after firing Ralph Kreuger and replacing with interim head coach Don Granato.  Under Granato, the team went 9-16-3 to wrap up their COVID shortened season.  That record may not seem impressive, but considering Buffalo only had 15 wins the entire season, that is a marked improvement.  Interim no more, Granato is trying to do what so many before him have failed to do in Buffalo: change the culture of losing in upstate New York.

“You should be damn proud to be hockey players,” Granato told reporters is his message to his players going into the season.  “This is a privilege and an honour and play with that passion.”

A feel good story with a Montreal connection on the Sabres is Dustin Tokarski.  After several years out of the league, Tokarski won the backup job to Craig Anderson in training camp.  Tokarski memorably played for the Canadiens in the 2014 Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers after goaltender Carey Price was injured by forward Chris Kreider.

Anderson joined the Sabres on a one year, $750,000 deal as a free agent in the offseason after backing up Vitek Vanecek with the Capitals last year.  The former Senators and Avalanche goalie even got a playoff win last season, playing in relief of Vanecek in Game 1 of the playoffs in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins.

Defenceman Will Butcher looks set to be a healthy scratch tonight for the Sabres after bein acquired in the off-season along with a fifth round pick from the New Jersey Devils.  Injury-wise, Eichel and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson are both on IR with neck and lower body injuries respectively.

Here are your projected Sabres lines for their season debut tonight against the Montreal Canadiens















  • The battles of the all-timers: Both teams claim to have winning records against one another.  The Sabres claim that they have a record of 130-114-41 against the Canadiens.  Meanwhile, the Habs claim that they have a record of 124-111-31-19 against Buffalo.  Who’s telling the truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
  • His contract might be an anvil on the organization but forward Jeff Skinner is a Canadiens killer; since 2013-14, Skinner has 20 points in 21 games against the Habs including eight points in six games as a member of the Sabres.
  • Buffalo are 5-2-3 in all-time in home openers against the Habs
  • Sabres forward Kyle Okposo needs two goals to reach 200 for his career
  • Habs forward Brendan Gallagher has the most goals and points against Buffalo with 15 and 18 in 28 games respectively


How To Watch: TSN2 (Regional), RDS, MSG, fuboTV.

How to Listen: TSN 690, Sabres Radio Network