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Game #9 ~ Montreal Canadiens @ Buffalo Sabres. Thursday, October 25th, 2018.


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BUFFALO - Here are five things you need to know ahead of Thursday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

1. The Canadiens practiced on Wednesday before departing for Buffalo, and following practice, head coach Claude Julien announced that Antti Niemi would be his starter to take on the Sabres. This marks a third start of the season for the Finnish netminder, who was in nets when the Habs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3, shootout) and Detroit Red Wings (7-3) at the Bell Centre. Niemi has a 2-0-0 record, 2.88 goals-against average and .893 save percentage this season.

2. Max Domi did not skate on Wednesday, opting for a therapy day instead. The 23-year-old forward is riding a four-game points streak (2G, 3A), and is tied for first on the team with eight total points in as many games. Domi made the trip to Upstate New York with his teammates and on Thursday, he was back in his regular spot centering a line between Jonathan Drouin and Artturi Lehkonen.

3. The Canadiens' leading point-getter against Buffalo is Tomas Plekanec with 39 career points (14G, 25A) in 75 games, but Plekanec is currently sitting out with back problems. Brendan Gallagher is next with 13 points (11G, 2A) in 22 games, although it was Jonathan Drouin who led the Habs with five points - all assists - in four contests last season. This is the first of four games between the Canadiens and their divisional rivals. Their next showdown is in Montreal on November 8, followed by another contest in Buffalo just over two weeks later, before their final meeting of the season in Montreal on March 23.

4. The Sabres are just returning from a rather successful trip to the West coast, beating the Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks, while falling to the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks. They're coming home with two wins in a row in Los Angeles and Anaheim, and currently sit in wildcard position with a 5-4-0 record and 10 points.

5. The Canadiens are third in the Atlantic Division with 12 points. The Boston Bruins also have 12 points, but Montreal has a game in hand. The Habs have earned points in every game except their home opener so far this season, and have a 1-0-2 record on the road.

 

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