MONTREAL -- The chirping from his teammates started as soon as the media horde crushed around Josh Gorges.
"Did you play here or something, Josh?" a voice asked from the corner.
Indeed the defenseman did, playing in 464 games for the Montreal Canadiens from 2006-14. Wednesday night's game will be a little extra special for Gorges, who returns to the Sabres lineup after missing three games with an upper body injury.
"When you’re hurt you’re trying everything just to get back," Gorges said after the Sabres took a morning skate at Bell Center. "You never want to be on the sidelines. You want to be in the mix, playing. Obviously having the All-Star break at this time was beneficial to get a few more days and knowing that this game was coming up was targeted. You never want to miss an opportunity to play against your former team."
Gorges returns to the lineup along with forwards Sam Reinhart and Nicolas Deslauriers when the Sabres play the Habs.
Robin Lehner will be in goal, coming off his first win -- a 3-2 decision at Ottawa on Jan. 26 the last game before the Sabre hit the NHL All-Star break.
"The first time he played there were one or two situations, especially late in the game, where he got a little scrambly," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "The three games he's played since, thankfully he gets the benefit of the win against Ottawa, but he's played outstanding the last three games. He's been solid and strong and been in control which is a big indication of how he's playing. At the same time, we're just talking about four games in the last 12 months for Robin. He's really seizing the opportunity to get in net and be the main guy for us."
The Sabres face a Canadiens' team in free fall. After starting the season 9-0 and having an NHL-best mark on Dec. 1 at 19-4-3 they've gone 5-19-1. They are 2-8-0 in that span at home, including four straight home losses where they have been outscored, ,14-5.
The Habs are coming off a 4-2 loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday night and while back-to-back games often mean a tired team, Bylsma is mindful that the Sabres need to avoid any post-break rust.
"Normally you catch a team on back to backs and them having played the night before you feel like you may have an advantage but I think it’s a benefit for them having played last night over us sitting here having not played for six, almost seven days," Bylsma said. "It will be a test for us to get into the game as quickly as we possible can."