The Montreal Canadiens travel to Buffalo to face the Sabres with both teams hoping to make noise in the Atlantic Division this season. The Canadiens were in the Stanley Cup Final last season but are hoping to rebound from a 2-1 opening night loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Sabres meanwhile are hoping to start off the season with a win after finishing last season with the worst record in the NHL. The upcoming game looks to be a good one as the NHL season is starting to get underway.
Canadiens hope defense can continue to lead the wayThe Canadiens won 24 games in the regular season last year but had a remarkable run in the playoffs to reach the Stanley Cup Final. The hope is that the Canadiens can replicate the success from the playoffs but the offense will need to step up in order to do so as they only scored 2.82 goals per game last season. The Canadiens will turn to Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, and Nick Suzuki to lead the way as the three forwards combined for 60 goals and 49 assists last season and Anderson distributed an assist in the opening night game.
In addition to the offense stepping up, the hope is that the defense can also continue to play well after allowing only 2.95 goals per game last season. Joel Edmundson and Jeff Petry return to lead a great defensive pairing as the duo combined for 7.4 defensive point shares and 135 blocked shots while Alexander Romanov adds to the backend of the unit with 2.0 defensive point shares and 60 blocked shots from last season. The hope is that Jake Allen can step up as the starting goaltender with world-class goaltender Carey Price not on the roster to start the season and Allen only saved 28 of the 30 shots in the opening night game.
Sabres struggled across the board last yearThe Sabre won only 15 games last season and finished with the worst record in the NHL. The team struggled across the board with the offense scoring only 2.39 goals per game and hope to rebound this season. The hope is that Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson can continue to play well on the offensive end of the ice as the duo combined for 38 goals and 34 assists but the rest of the unit struggled with only two skaters on the Sabres scoring 10 goals or more last season. To make matters worse for Buffalo, the team will start the season without Jack Eichel, who is their star forward and leads the top line.
The hope is that the defense can step up as well with the Sabres allowing 3.50 goals per game last year. The Sabres will turn to Henri Jokiharju and Jacob Bryson to lead the unit as the duo combined for 3.4 defensive point shares and 96 blocked shots last season but the rest of the unit is still an unproven one and struggled last season. In addition, the Sabres will look for Dustin Tokarski to emerge as the number one goaltender after putting together a .904 save percentage and 3.54 goals against average on 447 shots last season.