Friday, February 29, 2008

Habs Visit Bernier, Sabres @ HSBC

The Montreal Canadiens will look to halt a red-hot Sabres offence tonight as they visit Buffalo at HSBC Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:38.

The Canadiens defeated the Thrashers on deadline day, putting a halt to a mini two-game losing skid. With the win, however, the Habs improved themselves to 34-21-9, and have won 5 of their last 7.

Chris Higgins, whose name was running rampid throughout deadline week, responded to not being traded on Tuesday night by cashing in on 2 goals and adding a helper to lead Montreal to the 5-1 rout. The Habs scored 4 third period goals in the effort, and newly appointed #1 goaltender Carey Price was stellar manning the pipes, stopping 26 of 27 shots thrown his way.

Price has become the go-to guy in Montreal after the Canadiens traded away G Cristobal Huet to Washington for Anaheim's 2nd round pick in 2009. Huet will be getting his first career start as a Capital tonight as the Caps visit New Jersey, a team which Huet has had very little success against in his career, going 1-6-0 in 7 career games vs. NJ.

The Sabres (31-24-9) have won three straight against Montreal, outscoring the Canadiens 11-3. Montreal had won the first two regular season meetings, but have since dropped 3 straight to trail the season-series by 1 game.

Steve Bernier is coming off an absolutely spectacular debut with Buffalo on Wednesday night. Bernier played his first game with his new team on Wednesday, scoring on his first two shots and adding an assist in an 8-4 home win over Nashville. Bernier was acquired by the Sabres from the Sharks along with a 1st round draft pick in exchange for two-time All-Star defensemen Brian Campbell and a 7th round draft pick. Campbell debuted with the Sharks Wednesday as well, tallying an assist.

Bernier's fifth career multi-goal game ended a career-worst 12-game goal-scoring drought. Bernier's impressive debut gives him 15 goals in 2007-08, matching the career high he set last season with the Sharks.

Buffalo find themselves tied with Philadelphia with 71 points through 64 games, but the Flyers own the 8th and final playoff as of now with 32 wins, one more than Buffalo.

The Canadiens are 5th in the East with 77 points, and trail division-leading Ottawa by a single point. The Devils lead the East with 80 points. Montreal and New Jersey play tonight, while Ottawa sits idle.

On a side note: Marian Hossa (a name we are all too familiar with these days) made his Pittsburgh Penguins debut last night and suffered an MCL injury. The team stated that he is expected to miss at least one week. Brad Richards, meanwhile, made his Stars debut last night as well, and figured in with 5 assists in a 7-4 win vs. Chicago.

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