2019-20 NHL – Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens Preview & Pick

THE FACTS

When is Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens taking place? Friday 31st January, 2020 – 00:00 (UK)

Where is Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens taking place? KeyBank Center, Buffalo

What channel is Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens on? Premier Sports

Where can I stream Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens? Premier Sport subscribers can stream this match live via Premier Player

Where can I get tickets for Buffalo Sabres @ Montreal Canadiens? https://www.nhl.com/tickets

What was the outcome in the last meeting? Buffalo Sabres 5 – 4 Montreal Canadiens

THE TEAM NEWS

BUFFALO SABRES

  • The Sabres are coming off a 5-2 home loss to the Ottawa Senators and now they are riding a two-game losing streak. They are 3-2 over their last five games but they remain in 11th place of the Eastern Conference standings with 51 points, currently 10 points away from a playoff berth.
  • Team news for the Sabres shouldn’t change from their previous game against the Senators. Matt Hunwick and Vladimir Sobotka have both been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season. Tage Thompson should be listed as questionable due to a shoulder injury, although he could be ready to play here, while Victor Olofsson's chances of featuring are minimal.
  • Star forward Jack Eichel should be the player to watch here for the Sabres. He currently leads the team in goals (29), assists (34), points (63), plus/minus (+12), power-play points (19) and shots (166) despite being just 23 years old. He’s undoubtedly one of the top young players in the NHL.

MONTREAL CANADIENS

  • When it comes to recent form, the Canadiens have almost matched the Sabres since they also sit with 51 points in the Eastern Conference, although they are one spot below Buffalo on fewer wins overall. They are on a 3-2 run over their last five and coming off a 4-2 home loss against Washington Capitals.
  • Paul Byron is still one or two weeks away from returning to action so he should be listed as out. Several other Canadiens are questionable ahead of this matchup. The list includes Max Domi, Jonathan Druoin, Brendan Gallagher and Artturi Lehkonen. It must be noted all these players are forwards, so Montreal’s attacking depth could be either trimmed down or bolstered closer to the opening face-off.
  • Tomas Tatar should be Montreal’s main scoring threat here. He has 44 points out of 51 contests and leads the side in both goals (17) and assists (27) as well. He also paces the franchise in power-play goals (seven) and power-play points (11), meaning he can be an absolute menace when Montreal are playing with men advantage.

THE PREDICTION

Both teams are coming off a loss in their previous games and both franchises have also racked up an identical amount of points thus far, meaning there’s not a lot separating either team heading into this contest. Montreal have been in better form, have a better scoring record and could be in better shape if players such as Gallagher and Lehkonen return to action, but Buffalo have been slightly more consistent overall and own a stronger defensive unit. Given the fact the Canadiens are on a two-game winning streak on the road while the Sabres have dropped two of their last three at KeyBank Center, Montreal should have a slight edge here but either way, all signs point towards a tightly contested affair.

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