The Montreal Canadiens come to town in their first game against the Sabres since the season opener. We all remember how abruptly that ended.
Craig Rivet told the media that he’s ready to play tonight after suffering what looked like a pretty gruesome leg injury against the Flyers last week. Lindy Ruff said he’ll be a gametime decision, but if the captain’s ready, it likely means Andrej Sekera will be back up in the pressbox.
We’ve talked a lot about Ryan Miller’s play so far this season, but the defense in front of him has been pretty solid as well. In terms of defensive defensemen, there really hasn’t been one stand-out Sabre.
Tyler Myers is the breakout star on the blueline (he leads the team in ice time and the defense in points), but the play of the unit as a whole has really overshadowed any one individual player.
Toni Lydman’s been in and out of the lineup with various injuries this season but his presence hasn’t been sorely missed because the players around him have stepped up. Any one of the Sabres’ three regular pairings (Chris Butler-Rivet, Henrik Tallinder-Myers, Steve Montador-Lydman) could serve as the team’s top pair at any given time.
And when injuries have struck, Sekera and Nathan Paetsch have done a fine job stepping in as the sixth d-man (Sekera more so than Paetsch).
The corps as is a -2 combined but is tied for the league lead in goals against with New Jersey with 55. The Sabres are currently fourth in the league with 2.29 goals against per game. Not too shabby.
Myers, Butler and Rivet are chipping in offense as well (they’re fourth, fifth and sixth on the team in assists).
Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec are the Habs’ biggest offensive threats coming into the game. Montreal averages 2.3 goals per game so if either one of those players is shut down, there’s not much support behind them.
And it’s not like Carey Price is going to keep them in a game.
Faceoff from the arena is set for 7 p.m. And if it’s a good one, the Bills can wait.
UPDATE: And in breaking Sabres news, goaltender Jhonas Enroth has been recalled from Portland for tonight’s game. Regular back-up Patrick Lalime has agreed to a “two-game conditioning assignment” with the Pirates.
Enroth made 39 saves in a 2-0 win in Manchester over the Monarchs last night.
Lalime will start tomorrow and Saturday in Portland and return to the Sabres on Sunday. It’s probably a ploy to get him more playing time since Lindy Ruff doesn’t seem to trust him. We’ll have more info on this as it becomes available.