MONTREAL -- Twice in the next three Saturdays, the Sabres will be in Bell Centre to meet the Montreal Canadiens and those will be the only visits they will make to the Habs' home this season. Both games will come on the second half of back-to-backs, with tonight's contest starting shortly after 7 on MSG and WGR Radio.
Here are Five Things to Know about tonight's game:
Homecoming for Beaulieu: Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will get the bulk of the pregame attention from the ravenous Montreal press corps as he makes his return to Bell Centre after getting traded to the Sabres in the offseason. Beaulieu was selected 17th overall by the Habs in 2011 and played 225 games for them from 2013-2017. Beaulieu returned to the Buffalo lineup Friday night against Florida after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. He played 21:06 and had a minus-1 rating.
Backup brigade: The Sabres did not skate today, with coach Phil Housley having a scheduled media briefing a couple of hours before faceoff. They are expected to start Chad Johnson in goal tonight against Montreal's Charlie Lindgren, who has taken over in the wake of injuries to struggling starter Carey Price and backup Al Montoya. Lindgren is 2-1-1 but has sensational numbers with a 1.35 goals-against average and .961 save percentage. Johnson, meanwhile, has not done much for the Sabres overall (1-3-1/3.84/.878), and has given up 13 goals in his last three starts.
Habs get healthy: Two major names should be back in the Montreal lineup as Jonathan Drouin (upper body) and Shea Weber (lower body) are scheduled to play after missing Thursday's 3-0 loss to Minnesota. Drouin and Weber are tied for second on the team in scoring, with both having three goals and eight assists for 11 points. Drouin's shootout goal was the difference as the Habs posted a 3-2 victory over the Sabres in the season opener Oct. 5 in KeyBank Center.
Tough opponent for Eichel to try to break out against: Jack Eichel has just four goals on the season -- and none in his last seven games. It's the fourth time in his three-year career Eichel has gone seven straight without a goal, but he's always managed to find the net in Game 8. That won't be easy in this one because he has never scored in nine career games against Montreal, collecting just four assists against the Habs.
Numbers games: The Sabres are 1-3 in the first game of back-to-back sets this season and 2-1 in the second game. ... The Canadiens are 29th in the NHL in penalty killing (75.4 percent), but are 14 for 16 at home. The Sabres, meanwhile, are 28th overall on the power play and 27th at home. ... The Habs lead the NHL in shots on goal per game (37.7) but are averaging just 2.5 goals. ... The Sabres have been outscored by eight goals in each of the first two periods of their games (17-9 in the first and 23-15 in the second).