With only 3 games left in the season, the Montreal Canadiens are set to take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight at the Key Bank Center in Buffalo, NY.
The Habs upped their win streak to 5 games on Monday night with a 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers. By winning this game, the Habs secured first in the Atlantic Division, and home ice through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. The win also put the Habs at 101 points, marking the 3rd time in 4 years they have reached this plateau.
Although the Sabres have not been great in the final months of the season and have been eliminated from playoff contention, Jack Eichel has been shining since returning from injury. Eichel now has 24 goals and 56 points in 58 games in his sophomore season. Despite being overshadowed by other young players like McDavid, Laine, and Matthews, Jack Eichel has still had an exceptional year. The Habs will need to look out for him tonight if they hope to prevail.
With the Habs locking up the division, and the Sabres being eliminated from playoff contention, neither team has much to play for. Although the game doesn’t mean much for either team, some players still have a lot to prove over the course of the final few games. Whether it’s trying to stay hot, trying to get hot, or trying to hit a milestone, here are some players to look at.
In order for the Habs to make a deep run in the playoffs, they will need Alex Galchenyuk to be at his very best. Since being moved to the wing, Galchenyuk has only scored 1 goal in his last 15 games. With Galchenyuk being one of Montreal’s top offensive players, this rate is completely unacceptable and will hurt the Habs down the stretch. Galchenyuk will be doing everything he can in these final games to try to get into a rhythm heading into the playoffs.
Lehkonen scored twice in Montreal’s 4-1 win on Monday and is looking better than ever at this point in the season. With 4 goals and 4 assists in his last 9 games, Lehkonen is starting to show his true potential. In addition to his already strong defensive play, If Lehkonen continues to produce at this rate offensively then he can play a big part in the Habs playoff run. Lehkonen is now currently at 16 goals on the year. Although it will be difficult if Lehkonen keeps up his stellar play he may reach 20 goals in his rookie season, which is much more than anyone asked for.
Montreal Lineup Notes
–Shea Weber will sit out the second game in a row for precautionary reasons. Luckily for Habs fans, head coach Claude Julien stated today that Weber’s injury is not serious, and that he should be back by next week.
–Jordie Benn will miss his 4th straight game with an upper-body injury.
-Although unconfirmed, it is assumed that Carey Price will return to the crease after getting a rest on Monday night.
Habs fans should also keep in mind that the Rangers will be playing the Capitals tonight at 8:00 EST. A New York loss would guarantee a Habs vs Rangers first round. Be on the lookout for this game in addition to watching the Habs game at 7:30 EST. Go Habs Go!