Game 80, Away Game 40 | Wednesday April 5, 2017 
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

1-2

SABRES
Buffalo

(Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Shaw – Lehkonen
King – Mitchell – Flynn

Markov – Petry
Beaulieu – Emelin
Davidson – Nesterov

Goaltenders

Price
Lindgren

Scratches

Shea Weber, Jordie Benn, Michael McCarron, Andreas Martinsen, Steve Ott, Al Montoya

Injured Reserve

Game Report

‘It was a meaningless game, the Canadiens had nothing to play for.’

That was the consensus view following Montreal dropping a 2-1 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. Simply write off the remaining games and focus on the playoffs.

Now if you have a machine that is running on all cylinders, maybe that’s true. But the Canadiens have things to work on and areas to improve before the playoffs. And we certainly don’t want to see one loss become three so that the Habs sputter into the post-season.

The Washington Capitals have clinched the President’s trophy. Aren’t their games meaningless too? Yet the shutout the New York Rangers in Wednesday’s only other game.

And while some are so quick to point out that it was a meaningless game for the Canadiens, were was the motivation on the part of the Sabres?

Just before the game against the Canadiens Buffalo forward Ryan O’Reilly discussed the frustration on his team. 

“We’re not a very good hockey team. We’ve let a lot of things go that we normally shouldn’t. It’s so frustrating coming to the rink right now. Practicing. There’s no purpose to it. I’m sick of losing. It’s getting exhausting and it’s not fun. It sucks the fun out of the game.”

Shouldn’t the Atlantic division champs have been able to take care of a team so demoralized?

The Montreal Canadiens are a different team without Shea Weber on the ice. To a lesser degree the Habs also missed Jordie Benn and Alexei Emelin for the rest of the game.

There wasn’t enough glue to hold together the remaining parts. It was a rough game for the D corps particularly Nathan Beaulieu and Nikita Nesterov.

Up front the Canadiens did everything they could to make Robin Lehner look good, including passing up opportunities to shoot the puck. They also did nothing to draw penalties.

 The loss is not something to get too exercised about. But the game was a wasted chance to fine tune a few things prior to the playoffs. Just two more opportunities left.

~~~

▲     Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Alexander Radulov 

▼     Nathan Beaulieu, Nikita Nesterov

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   SABRES
32 Shots 30
64% Face-offs 36%
0 for 1 Power Play 0 for 0
0 Penalty Minutes 2
9 Hits 26
 53 Corsi For  49
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (46-25-9) 0 0 1 1
 Sabres (33-35-12) 1 1 0 2
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Plekanec (10) 
  • BUF: Ristolainen (6), Ennis (5) 
  • MTL: Price (L) 37-19-5
  • BUF: Lehner (W) 23-25-8
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
  1.  Tyler Ennis  BUF
  2.  Evander Kane  BUF
  3.  Robin Lehner  BUF

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Claude Julien

  • “On the whole, the passes were a bit off, especially the first passes. We still generated scoring chances, but we didn’t manage to capitalize on them. We often had chances to shoot and we were trying to force things on plays. We were a bit too cute. We didn’t shoot enough when it was time to shoot the puck.”
  • “I’m not worried. I know the guys will rebound. We could have easily let our guard down against Tampa Bay after clinching a playoff spot, but we battled and picked up a win. The same thing happened against the Florida Panthers.”

Tomas Plekanec

  • “I thought we missed opportunities to shoot the puck a bit more and be more dangerous offensively. At the same time, I thought we had a bit of trouble with making that first pass and coming strong out of our zone.”

Brendan Gallagher

  • “We’re all professionals in here. I’ve been saying it all along. It doesn’t matter where the game is or who you’re playing, you want to compete and you want to win. I think everyone in here is the same way. It’s a sign of character that you can show up. It’s not that we didn’t show up. They just had a few too many chances, but we had a chance at the end.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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