The Buffalo Sabres came out of the All-Star break well-rested and facing a schedule that is conducive to climbing back into contention for a postseason bid. However, the Sabres flopped badly in a 5-2 home loss to the Ottawa Senators and will look to rebound against another Atlantic Division foe when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
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Tuesday's loss kicked off a stretch of nine home games in the next 10 for Buffalo, which also lost top netminder Linus Ullmark for at least three weeks due to a knee injury. "Adversity is something you need to look in the eyes and you need to be strong about," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger told reporters. "You need to use it, and that's what we'll do here." The Canadiens, who are tied with the Sabres in points, won four of five entered the break but were unable to keep pace with NHL-leading Washington in Monday's 4-2 home loss. The flu is going through Montreal's locker room and coach Claude Julien acknowledged "we're in a desperate situation where you cross your fingers that everybody's going to be ready to go."
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: MSG Buffalo, RDS, TSN2
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (22-22-7): Montreal is expected to receive an offensive boost with the likely return of 15-goal scorer Brendan Gallagher, who has been sidelined for 10 of the last 11 games due to a concussion. Jonathan Drouin, out since mid-November after undergoing wrist surgery, practiced for a second straight day Wednesday and will travel with the team but is not ready to return to the lineup. There are also questions about the status of forwards Max Domi and Artturi Lehkonen (illness), who each missed practice Wednesday.
ABOUT THE SABRES (22-21-7): Ullmark, who supplanted Carter Hutton as the No. 1 goalie in November, had to exit Tuesday's game when he landed awkwardly on his right knee and is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks. Krueger did not announce a starter for Thursday's matchup but is expected to go with Hutton, who is mired in an 11-start winless drought and has surrendered a staggering 17 goals in his last three starts. "I don't think anyone inside this room has ever doubted me or anything like that," Hutton told reporters Wednesday.
1. Sabres captain Jack Eichel, who set a career high with his 29th goal Tuesday, scored twice and set up two others in a 5-4 win over Montreal on Oct. 9.
2. Canadiens F Ilya Kovalchuk has four goals and eight points in nine games since signing as a free agent with Montreal.
3. Buffalo has won four of the past five meetings, including the last three at home.
News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
no tickets found.
- AcquiredProb Thurs | probable
Scandella was recently acquired via trade, but he is likely to make his team debut Thursday against the Coyotes.
- IllnessQues Sat | questionable
Frolik has sat out the previous two games due to an illness, and it is unknown if he will take part in Saturday's matchup versus the Penguins.
- UndisclosedProb Tues | probable
Larsson is tending to an unspecified ailment, but he is expected to face the Senators on Tuesday.
- Upper BodyProb Sun | probable
Johansson missed the last game due to an upper-body injury, but he is expected to rejoin the lineup Sunday against the Maple Leafs.
- UndisclosedProb Sun | probable
Hutton is tending to an undefined ailment, but he is expected to guard the crease versus the Maple Leafs on Sunday.
- Upper BodyProb Thurs | probable
Okposo has been activated from the injured reserve list due after recuperating from ab upper-body ailment, and it is projected that he will return Thursday versus the Blue Jackets.
- Lower BodyProb Thurs | probable
Olofsson has been activated from the injured reserve list after healing from a lower-body injury, and it is likely that he will return against the Blue Jackets on Thursday.
- PersonalProb Tues | probable
Hutton missed the last game due to family circumstances, but it is projected that he will be ready to return Tuesday against the Red Wings.
- Lower BodyQues Thurs | questionable
Gallagher sat out the previous game due to a lower-body injury, and it is up in the air if he will line up Thursday against the Capitals.
- FootQues Thurs | questionable
Mete departed the last game due to a left foot injury, and it is unclear if he will play against the Capitals on Thursday.
- AnkleProb Tues | probable
Weber has been activated from the injured reserve list after healing from a sprained ankle, and it is likely that he will return to action Tuesday against the Red Wings.
- IllnessProb Tues | probable
Thompson sat out the previous game due to illness, but he is likely to line up versus the Red Wings on Tuesday.
- AnkleProb Tues | probable
Drouin missed the last game with an ankle injury, but it is likely he will face the Red Wings on Tuesday.
- KneeProb Tues | probable
Byron has been taken off of the injured reserve list after recovering from knee surgery. He is likely to draw back into the lineup against the Red Wings on Tuesday.
- FluOut indefinitely | out
Weal has been sidelined due to flu-like symptoms, and a timetable for return has yet to be established.
- HandProb Fri | probable
Tatar is expected to face the Penguins on Friday despite a hand injury.
buffalo-sabres Stats 2019-2020
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montreal-canadiens Stats 2019-2020
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