Four days after his spectacular victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadiens will find another rival on their way who has not lost in regulation in three outings this season.
The Canadiens (1-0-1) will meet the Buffalo Sabers (2-0-1) on Wednesday. He will then make his big comeback in Montreal Thursday by hosting the Detroit Red Wings.
The troupe of Claude Julien already knew that the battle would be difficult this season within the Atlantic section. She must hope that the Sabers will not join the anticipated advance group, already well filled with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers.
"We know how dangerous they are, especially when their attackers have the puck," said Brendan Gallagher of the Sabers. You have to reduce their time and space when they have the puck. If you give them too much time, they will charge you.
"When we were successful against them, we never let them go. "
Seven of the last 11 games between the Canadiens and the Sabers ended with a one-goal gap. Five required the presentation of a tiebreaker. The Habs had the advantage 6-2-3 during this period.
"It's a good, structured team with four good lines," said Phillip Danault. Their defense is also improving with (Rasmus) Dahlin. It's going to be an intense match. "
Under the leadership of new head coach Ralph Krueger, the Sabers are off to a good start. They scored 13 goals in three games. Rookie forward Victor Olofsson scored three, boosting his production to five goals in his first nine games in the NHL.
"It's a good team and so was it last season," said Julien. They had a good start and were in first place. They won 10 games in a row. It's a team with great potential. On our side, we have just played against two great teams – Carolina and Toronto. It shows that the competition will be fierce in our association this season. "
The Canadian took advantage of the last two days of training to continue to refine his game. The focus was on recovery and the digital advantage.
"You have to attack three against two as often as possible," said Danault. In the last two games, defensemen often went down the ramp to try and maintain the attack. It is important for the centers to support our defense by bringing speed. "
Cousins is not on the trip
Forward Nick Cousins did not participate in the Canadiens training for a second day in a row. Julien said he was suffering from a back injury and would not accompany the team to Buffalo.
Julien added that Cousins' health condition will be reassessed on a daily basis.
Cousins, who is 26, was left out in the first two games of the Habs this season. He signed a $ 1 million one-season contract with the Canadiens on July 5th.
For his part, defender Shea Weber got training leave on Tuesday.
Moreover, Julien did not want to reveal the identity of the goalkeeper who would face the Sabers. However, he said Keith Kinkaid was going to get his first start with his new team during the week.