The Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres each put together three-game winning streaks last month, but neither team has been able to generate much consistency since then. The Canadiens have alternated losses and wins over their past nine games while the Sabres have dropped four of five entering Thursday night's matchup in Montreal.
The Canadiens were denied a chance at back-to-back victories after surrendering four unanswered goals, including three in the third period, in Tuesday's 5-3 loss at the New York Rangers. "At times in key crucial moments of the game, I think we have to have a better killer instinct," Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher said. "It's tough to sit here at the end of the day when those things are in your control and we could have had a better outcome." Buffalo also is coming off a road loss to the Rangers, although coach Phil Housley had no issues with his team's effort after it poured 40 shots on goal. "I liked the way we played the game tonight," Housley said. "If we continue to play like that, we're going to win a lot of hockey games."
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG-Buffalo, RDS, TSN2 (Montreal)
ABOUT THE SABRES (7-6-2): Buffalo's No. 1 line of captain Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and Jason Pominville was held off the scoresheet Sunday after erupting for nine points in the previous game versus Ottawa and 38 in the previous seven contests. Conor Sheary netted the team's lone goal in Monday's loss and has scored in back-to-back games after managing only one assist during an eight-game goalless drought. Housley said that defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who has appeared in only one of the past eight games, will return to the lineup Thursday against his former team.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (8-5-2): Forward Max Domi has scored in four consecutive games and his nine tallies in his first season with Montreal have all come in the past nine contests, matching his total from 82 games with the Arizona Coyotes in 2017-18. Such consistency has been lacking in net, however: Carey Price was singed for three goals on eight shots in the third period against the Rangers and has surrendered a combined 13 tallies in his last three starts. For the season, Price owns a 5-4-2 record with an unsightly 2.81 goals-against average and .901 save percentage.
1. Domi has seven goals in his last seven games, including two in a 4-3 loss at Buffalo last month.
2. Skinner had three assists versus Montreal last month and has 11 goals and 20 points in 26 games against the Canadiens.
3. The Canadiens recalled F Kenny Agostino from Laval of the American Hockey League.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Sabres 2 Bet Now
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