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Sabres Gameday: The New Year Begins With the Canadiens

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Buffalo Sabres Montreal Canadiens win probability

The Buffalo Sabres (15-19-4) are in Montreal to face the Canadiens (16-16-5) in their first game of 2024. The rollercoaster of a season continues, as Buffalo was unable to string together wins yet again in Ottawa on Sunday. Today they’ll look to jumpstart another attempt at a win streak against a team with a worse goal-differential.

Where to Watch

Gametime: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Centre Bell (Montreal, QC)

TV: MSG

Stream: MSG+; ESPN+ (Out-of-market)

Radio: WGR550

The Sabres

Head coach Don Granato returns behind the bench after an illness kept him out of the last two games of 2023. He rejoins a team desperate to go on a run, as they find themselves eight points out of a playoff spot nearing the halfway point of the season. The Sabres currently trail the Canadiens by three points in the Atlantic Division.

Tage Thompson enters the today with six points in his last five games. Linemate Jeff Skinner has five points in his last five. If the Sabres are going to climb up the standings, it will likely be on the back of those two.

The Opponent

The Canadiens continue to hold onto three goaltenders this season despite the demand on the premium position around the league. If the rotation holds true, then it’s Cayden Primeau’s turn again against the Sabres. Primeau was stellar in Buffalo the last time these two faced each other, setting a career-high with 46 saves.

The offense has been led by captain Nick Suzuki, who leads the team in goals (12), assists (22), and points (34).

Injury Report

Buffalo

  • Kyle Okposo (Lower Body) Week-to-Week

Montreal

  • Christian Dvorak (Upper Body) Day-to-Day
  • Josh Anderson (Leg) Day-to-Day
  • Chris Wideman (Back) Out [IR]
  • Tanner Pearson (Upper Body) Out [IR]
  • Alex Newhook (Ankle) Out [IR]
  • Rafael Harvey-Pinard (Lower Body) Out [IR]
  • Kirby Dach (Knee) Out [IR]
  • Carey Price (Knee) Out [IR]

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn

Jordan Greenway – Casey Mittelstadt – Zach Benson

Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Eric Robinson

Rasmus Dahlin – Henri Jokiharju

Owen Power – Erik Johnson

Mattias Samuelsson – Connor Clifton

Devon Levi (Projected)

 

Lineup Source: Joe Yerdon, Noted Hockey

Goalie Source: PuckLuck Projected

 

Montreal Canadiens (11 forwards, 7 defensemen)

Cole Caufield – Nick Suzuki – Juraj Slafkovsky

Jesse Ylonen – Sean Monahan – Josh Anderson

Jake Evans – Brendan Gallagher

Michael Pezzetta – Mitchell Stephens – Joel Armia

Mike Matheson – David Savard

Kaiden Guhle – Justin Barron

Jayden Struble – Jordan Harris

Johnathan Kovacevic

Cayden Primeau (Projected)

 

Lineup Source: PuckLuck Projected

Goalie Source: PuckLuck Projected

 

Betting Breakdown

The Sabres project as road favorites, which is rare for the team the last couple of months. The early sportsbook lines list them at -135, implying about a 57% win probability.

The PuckLuck model is a little ahead of that number, liking Devon Levi a little more than he’s shown this season. Should Levi get the nod, there is a clear betting edge on the moneyline.

As for the game total, the 6.94 projection would hint at the over. The sportsbooks are already leaning that way, so as of now there doesn’t look to be any edge there.

For more betting analysis, be sure to head over to PuckLuck.com.

*PuckLuck.com provides data related to gambling and cannot guarantee the success of any suggested or related wagers. Please gamble responsibly.*

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