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The Canadiens tried everything, but the Lightning were simply too strong
After their long holiday trip, the Canadiens were back at the Bell Centre tonight to take on the Buffalo Sabres.

Josh Anderson was feared to have suffered a serious injury in the last game… but in the end, #17 was able to play tonight. Once again, though, the club played with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with Jake Allen in net.

On the Sabres side, we’ll be keeping an eye on Jeff Skinner, who’s used to putting on a show against the Habs.

Here’s the complete line-up for the visitors, with Montrealer Devon Levi in net.

In the opening minutes of the first period, Jayden Struble set the tone with a huge check on Peyton Krebs.

He hits hard, the Greek God.

A few minutes later, Jesse Ylönen came close to opening the scoring, only to be frustrated twice by Devon Levi.

A video replay was needed to confirm the save, but in the end, the goal was not awarded.

The rest of the first period was fairly uneventful, so much so that after 20 minutes, the score was still 0-0.

Early in the second period, Joel Armia almost scored the Habs’ first goal at the Bell Centre in 2024, but the referees later ruled that there had been goaltender interference.

I’ve seen more blatant cases of interference… but hey. The score was still 0-0.

When I said earlier that we’d have to keep an eye on Jeff Skinner, who is the Canadiens’ bête noire, he proved it again in the second period.

First, he fed Casey Mittelstadt, who scored the game’s first goal. A goal scored on the power play.

Then, Skinner remembered that he likes to score against the Tricolore. Taking advantage of another power play, the winger unleashed a good shot from a tight angle that doubled his team’s lead.

Again and again, Skinner has a blast against the Habs.

Later in the second, as Michael Pezzetta took the club’s third penalty of the second period, another goal was scored.

However, this time it was the Habs who hit the target short-handed, as Joel Armia scored with an excellent shot. This time, the goal was not disallowed.

After 40 minutes, the score was 2-1 to the Sabres.

The problem was, even though it was the Habs who needed to score, it was the Sabres who were dominant in the third period. A few minutes into the period, Jack Quinn found the back of the net.

He has now scored four goals in his last seven games.

Then, a few minutes later, Jeff Skinner made the Habs pay again with a point on his team’s fourth goal.

Tage Thompson was credited with the net.

Rasmus Dahlin scored his team’s fifth goal in an empty net, while Tage Thompson added a sixth (with Jake Allen between the pipes) to put the exclamation point on a convincing Sabres victory.

Not a game that will go down in Canadian history, let’s say.

Final score: 6-1 Buffalo

The Canadiens return to action on Saturday night, when the New York Rangers visit Montreal.


– It was a tough game for the Canadiens’ power play and defense. Mike Matheson was particularly bad in his zone, and the brigade in general had a game to forget. Let’s hope it’s just a bad one in the system for the Tricolore, because even if Jake Allen wasn’t dominant, his defense was more than porous.

– Jeff Skinner is the Tricolore’s bête noire. In fact, he picked up a third assist late in the game, giving him 20 assists and 46 points in 41 games against the Tricolore.


Ouch (part 2).

– Devon Levi was extremely solid in front of the Sabres net, putting on a show with some sublime saves. He had said it was special for him to play in Montreal (he’s a native of the area), and clearly, it showed in his performance.

– The Molson Cup for December was awarded to Josh Anderson before the start of the game.

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