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Canadiens Pre Game

Canadiens Game 19: Juraj Slafkovsky Promotion, Armia Returns



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens (9-8-1) get set to do battle against the slumping Buffalo Sabres (7-11-0) on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

The Montreal Canadiens will look to keep the good times rolling as they get set for a back-to-back situation this week against the Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets,

The club continues to draw the ire of the league with their never-say-die attitude and their flair for the dramatic so far this season.

Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield have been the core of this new wave of energy that has taken hold in Montreal, as both have 11 goals so far this season, accounting for almost 40% of the Canadiens’ offence this season.

Another youngster who is getting a bigger role tonight is Juraj Slafkovsky, as he will be jumping from fourth-line duty to top-six deployment due to Mike Hoffman‘s injury.

The 18-year-old is expected to line up next to Christian Dvorak and Brendan Gallagher, two very responsible forwards who are heating right now. Dvorak has quietly put up nine points in his last 11 games, while Brendan Gallagher continues to play with unrelenting effort and create all kinds of havoc around the net.

It’ll be a perfect setting for Slafkovsky to take the next step in his development; and one that many will be keeping a close eye on.

Unfortunately for Arber Xhekaj, he’ll have to sit out his second game in a row, as Jordan Harris and Chris Wideman draw in. It’s not he’s playing poorly, but the Canadiens are now running with eight defencemen and have to rotate them all in, as they did late last season.

Joel Armia is also slated to return tonight after missing the last few games with an injury. He’ll be slotted on the fourth line.

The Buffalo Sabres have had a tough time as of late.

They’ve now gone winless in their last eight games after a fiery start to the season, due in large part to big defensive breakdowns.

The offence is certainly there, as Tage Thompson has been on a mission to prove last year’s breakout season was no fluke; putting up 12 goals and 10 assists in just 18 games for 22 points.

Even on the back end, Rasmus Dahlin is enjoying an excellent offensive season, with seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points.

The issue stems from inconsistent goaltender and defensive breakdowns while under pressure.

The combo of Eric Comrie and Craig Anderson has been unfortunately unable to steal some games for the Sabres. In fact, the position has been the Achilles Heel of the Sabres since they traded away Ryan Miller, with their top potential successors still a few years away.

If the Sabres are going to turn it around against the Canadiens, they’ll have to play a much tighter game and shut down the Canadiens’ top line.

Easier said than done.

Canadiens Injuries

  • Jonathan Drouin (upper-body injury, 4-6 weeks)
  • Carey Price (LTIR)
  • Paul Byron (LTIR)

Sabres Injuries

  • Kyle Okposo (IR)
  • Eric Comrie (IR)

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines

Cole CaufieldNick SuzukiJuraj Slafkovsky
Brendan GallagherAlex NewhookJoel Armia
Jesse YlonenJake EvansJosh Anderson
Michael PezzettaChristian DvorakRafael Harvey-Pinard
Mike MathesonJustin Barron
Lane HutsonDavid Savard
Jordan HarrisLogan Mailloux
Samuel Montembeault
Cayden Primeau

Buffalo Sabres Projected Lines













Special Teams

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Game Notes:

  • Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield both lead the Canadiens in goals with 11
  • Tage Thompson continues to be one of the league’s top goal scorers with 12 goals.
  • The breakout party is on for Rasmus Dahlin, who sits 3rd overall for scoring from a defenceman in the NHL

How to Watch Or Listen




Canadiens: TSN 69098,5FM

Buffalo: WGR 550