June 5, 2023
Canadiens @ Sabers: Game Preview, Start Time, Tale of the Tape and How to Watch

Canadiens @ Sabers: Game Preview, Start Time, Tale of the Tape and How to Watch

Montreal Canadiens @ Buffalo Sabers

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Start time: 7:00 p.m. EDT / 4:00 p.m. PDT
In the region of Canadians: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Sabers region: MSG buffalo

Over the course of this season, the Canadians – who are just beginning their own rebuild – will play against teams that have put a lot of time into the process (with varying degrees of progress). These games can serve as a benchmark for how much Montreal has to work on and how much the team still has to accomplish.

history of the band

Canadian statistics saber
Canadian statistics saber
3-4-0 recording 4-2-0
44.8% (25th) Goal Odds-for % 47.0% (22nd)
2.43 (29th) goals per game 3.83 (4th)
3.00 (14.) Goals conceded per game 2.67 (7th)
4.8% (31st) PP% 13.6% (25th)
85.7% (8th place) PC% 76.2% (22nd)
1-3-0 H2H record (21-22) 3-1-0

Thursday night’s opponent, the Buffalo Sabers, is one of those teams. The Sabers last came into the postseason in 2010–11. They tried to spontaneously rebuild over the next two seasons, but their four combined first-rounders in those years produced Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen. Full commitment didn’t come until 2014 when the Sabers used second overall pick to bring in Sam Reinhart. They have drafted into the top 10 in every subsequent draft since then, with three other top 2 picks (Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, and Owen Power).

At the start of the 2022/23 season, the rebuild included nine drafts, five head coaches and the first three fruits of their harvest (Reinhart, Eichel and Alex Nylander) have already left the organization. Overall, the team has yet to break the .500 mark, peaking in 2014-15 with a percentage of .494 points.

Could this be the year? Dahlin rounded out his form last season, scoring 53 points in 80 games. So far this year he’s run better, nine out of six. The Sabers also invested in the future, placing big orders with Tage Thompson and Mattias Samuelsson. Alex Tuch, acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights as part of the return for Eichel, clicks along at a goals-per-game pace. Even past mistakes have caught a second wind: Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo scored over 30 and 20 goals respectively last season. Add Dylan Cozens, JJ Peterka, Owen Power, Peyton Krebs and Jack Quinn to this mix and the Sabers might just turn the corner.

Four wins in six games earlier in the season, including a win over teams from western Canada, would confirm that impression. But there are cracks in the foundation. The Sabers have 14 goals in five-for-fie while giving up just nine…while being significantly overtaken and outplayed. One has to wonder what their record might be if their goaltenders didn’t excel, particularly backup (for now) Craig Anderson, who held a .970 save rate in two games. Starter Eric Comrie was no slouch either, posting a .930 before Buffalo’s last game, a 5-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken, brought him back to earth.

As the Sabers try to maintain their momentum, the Habs try to recapture theirs. Back-to-back losses to the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild have dampened spirits after a final pounding by the Arizona Coyotes. Notably, with three goals in two games, the offense has gone cold – perhaps best represented by their 1v21 powerplay. The Sabers are ranked 22nd in the league with a 76.2% penalty shootout skill, giving the Canadiens an opportunity to turn things around.

The weakness of the Habs’ power play could also point to bigger problems in the second place. In seven games, only five habs have more than two points, and three of them currently make up the top tier. In fact, the trio of Christian Dvorak, Brendan Gallagher and Evgenii Dadonov has a point — together.

Despite starting the season brilliantly, it’s hard to tell whether or not the Buffalo Sabers have progressed beyond their rebuild. However, they definitely have enough talented players to pose a threat to any team in the league. The Canadians need to reverse some trends to get back on the winning column. They would do well to seize this opportunity because a difficult three-game road swing in the Midwest is on the horizon.

#Canadiens #Sabers #Game #Preview #Start #Time #Tale #Tape #Watch

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