7:00 PM EST
News and Notes:
- Season Debut for Both Teams
- Atlantic Division Match-Up
- Sabres are 143-136-31 All-Time vs Habs ( http://mcubed.net/nhl/buf/mon.shtml )
- Teams split last season series 2-2-0
- Sabres agreed to eight-year, $80 million contract with Jack Eichel Tuesday
- Clubs traded minor league players Wednesday; Sabres acquired defenseman Zach Redmond (Drafted by ATL 2008) in exchange for forward Nicolas Deslauriers (Drafted by LAK 2009)
- Jason Botterill Makes His NHL GM Debut
- Phil Housley Makes his NHL Head Coaching Debut
Pacioretty – Drouin – Gallagher
Hudon – Plekanec – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Danault – Shaw
Byron – De La Rose – Hemsky
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Streit – Benn
Things are about to get real in WNY for hockey fans. The community has embraced the changes over the summer in welcoming Jason Botterill as the new GM and Phil Housley as the new head coach. With the signing of Jack Eichel to a long-term contract just two days ago, the feeling in Buffalo is eagerness.
The fans have waited a long time to feel this comfortable heading into a new season. The changes owners Terry and Kim Pegula made were commendable. But once the puck drops tonight, the excuses will go away. There will be little room for error, despite the fresh faces, the area is starving for a winner.
The pieces appear to be in place offensively. Defensively there is optimism but in goal there are questions. Success in the 2017-18 season will in large part hang on the shoulders of of Robin Lehner.
Now entering his third year for the Blue & Gold the No. 1 goaltender is healthy and on the clock. Can he keep the Sabres in close games? There is no time like the present.
Buffalo needs a quick start to the season. As evident in the opening night of games Wednesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins picked up where they left off. The Sabres cannot afford to stumble out of the gate.
The Canadiens have questions too but none of them are from the back end. Shea Weber is still Shea Weber and Carey Price might be the best goaltender in the Eastern Conference.
This offseason they pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal with Tampa in acquiring Jonathon Drouin. The 3rd overall pick of the 2013 entry draft has mixed well with team captain Max Pacioretty.
Buffalo can match size and speed with Montreal, this game comes down to goaltending and Price has Lehner by a rink.
I expect a close game, but I like the Habs to steal a win here, 4-2.