Game Preview: Sabres at Canadiens

By: David Kolb

BUFFALO SABRES (18-18-9) @ MONTREAL CANADIENS (28-13-6)

ATLANTIC BATTLE

Tonight the Sabres head north of the border to face their Atlantic Division rival, Montreal Canadiens at Bell Center. This will serve as the second of four games the clubs will play against each other this season, as the Habs took the first contest by a score of 4-1. The Sabres will look to make it two in a row after Friday’s 3-2 comeback win over the Detroit Red Wings, while the Canadiens also look to close out their back-to-back set with a win, as they defeated the New Jersey Devils, 3-1 Friday.

RY-DING RYAN FOR A WIN

Ryan O’Reilly was the key cog in Friday’s win over the Red Wings, scoring a goal to tie the game with 4:09 remaining in the third and then setting up Kyle Okposo’s game-winning goal on the power play in overtime. O’Reilly now has nine goals and 27 points this season and two goals and seven assists in eight games in January.

QUOTABLE

“He willed it. It was a big-time play from our guy wanting to be a leader on this team and just willed that goal in. From along the boards to behind the net to bringing it out, that’s the best I can say. He willed that goal into the back of the net.”

Coach Dan Bylsma on Ryan O’Reilly’s game-tying goal Friday.

RADULOV ROLL

Canadiens’ right wing, Alexander Radulov picked up three assists in Friday’s 3-1 win over the Devils, giving him 25 assists and 35 points this season. Radulov has been a significant addition on offense for the Canadiens this season, as the former first-round pick has two goals and seven assists for nine points in 10 games in January for Montreal.

RISTOLAINEN RACKING UP MINUTES

Sabres’ defenseman, Jake McCabe left Friday’s game early in the first period with a shoulder injury, forcing the Sabres to play with five defensemen for the rest of the contest. Rasmus Ristolainen picked up the slack, skating a career-high 35:24, including playing the whole 4:34 of OT. The 21-year-old defenseman is enjoying a sensational season, as he’s tallied three goals and 28 points, including 16 power play assists.