[7:00 PM] Canadiens @ Sabres

Who will WIN this matchup?

Montreal Canadiens

@ Buffalo Sabres


Starting Goalies:

Al Montoya(MON): Confirmed

Robin Lehner (BUF): Confirmed


Current odds:

Montreal Canadiens: (-130)

Buffalo Sabres: (+110)


The Montreal Canadiens began the 2015-16 campaign by winning their first nine games, while the Buffalo Sabres didn’t even get out of the blocks this season before sustaining a significant setback. Former second overall pick Jack Eichel could be sidelined for four-to-six weeks after sustaining an ankle injury in practice on Wednesday, one day before the Sabres were to host the Atlantic Division-rival Canadiens in the season opener for both clubs.

Captain Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk each netted 30 goals last season, but the duo constantly was in search of some additional offensive punch. They may very well have received that after Montreal acquired two-time Stanley Cup-winning forward Andrew Shaw from Chicago for a pair of second-round picks at the 2016 draft. Shaw is not a goal-scorer by any means, but his gritty play in front of the net could be just what the Canadiens need to open up an offense that netted 2.63 goals per contest last year.

Rasmus Ristolainen signed a six-year deal on Tuesday to bolster a defense that will need to aid the goaltending tandem of oft-injured Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson. Dmitry Kulikov (bruised tailbone) and Zach Bogosian (groin) are also ailing, but both blue-liners returned to practice on Tuesday. Ryan O’Reilly recorded 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 71 games last season and gained valuable experience in helping Team Canada claim a World Cup of Hockey championship.

Montreal is hoping to yield large dividends from the offseason signing of F Alexander Radulov, who aims to show he’s matured after a checkered past that saw Nashville suspend him for breaking curfew prior to a playoff game.

Buffalo newly acquired F Kyle Okposo likely will miss the opener with a bruised knee, according to Bylsma.

The Canadiens converted on just 16.2 percent of their power plays, which was sixth-worst in the NHL.


StreakSmarts Pick: Montreal Canadians

Confidence: 5/10

StreakSmarter Pick