The Sabres and Canadiens both won their final games before Star break and the disappointing Northeast Division foes will try to keep heading in the right direction when they clash tonight at Montreal's Bell Centre.
Neither Buffalo nor Montreal has played up to expectations this year, but both clubs have time to make up for its poor play. The Sabres are tied for last in the Eastern Conference with Carolina and the New York Islanders, but are still only 10 points out of a playoff spot. The Canadiens are just two points in front of the Sabres.
The Sabres had lost five straight tilts before ending the slide last Tuesday in their final game before the All-Star break. Buffalo notched a 2-1 shootout win in New Jersey to halt a club-record road losing streak at 12 games.
Nathan Gerbe's goal in the fourth round of the shootout was the game-winner for the Sabres, who are just 3-7-1 in January. Buffalo is also just 9-15-0 on the road this year and is completing a seven-game road trip tonight.
Montreal entered the break with consecutive wins and the Canadiens turned in a particularly impressive performance in their final test before the hiatus.
On Wednesday, the Habs hosted the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal notched a shocking 7-2 victory over the NHL's point leaders. The five-goal difference was the largest margin of victory at home by Montreal over Detroit since an 8-1 win at the Forum on December 18, 1993.
David Desharnais scored twice and added an assist while Erik Cole totaled a score and two assists for the Habs in the blowout. Carey Price, who was Montreal's lone representative in Sunday's All-Star Game in Ottawa, posted 25 saves to earn the win.
The Sabres have won both meetings against Montreal this season, but the clubs haven't met since Buffalo notched a shootout win at the Bell Centre on Nov. 14. Buffalo has won five straight in the series overall and has claimed four in a row in Montreal.
Travis Moen missed Montreal's final game before the break with an upper-body injury and the forward is questionable for tonight.
For Buffalo, forward Tyler Ennis is expected to play tonight after missing the last 17 games with an ankle injury. Ennis, who hasn't played since Dec. 17, has three goals and two assists in 15 games this season.
Sabres forward Paul Gaustad is questionable tonight after missing the last three games with an upper-body issue, while forward Jochen Hecht and defenseman T.J. Brennan will miss this evening's tilt with concussions.