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Five things to know as the Sabres visit Montreal

MONTREAL -- The Buffalo Sabres begin their post-All-Star break schedule against the Canadiens in Bell Centre at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. The Sabres won here last week, a 3-2 overtime decision on Jan. 21. Zach Bogosian had that game-winner.

What to watch for when the teams hit the ice tonight? Here's your five things to know:

1. Lineup notes. Robin Lehner will start for the Sabres. He has won his last two starts, giving up two goals against the Canadiens on Jan. 21 and four against Nashville on Jan. 24. Both those wins came after he was pulled for the first time of the season in a 4-3 loss at Toronto on Jan. 17.

William Carrier, a native of Lasalle, Quebec who was a sought-after interview by the French-speaking Montreal media, will be in the Sabres lineup. Nicolas Deslauriers will be out.

Meanwhile, Montreal will see the return of two defensemen, Andrei Markov, who missed 19 games with a lower body injury, and David Desharnais, who missed 24 games with a knee injury.

2. Dmitry Kulikov will play. The defenseman did not take morning skate, but Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said he would be in the lineup. Kulikov, who missed time with a lower back injury, played the last two games, playing 24:11 against Nashville and 25:32 against Dallas.

"Probably won't see a lot of morning skates from Dmitry," Bylsma said.

"He's 27 so he's never going to be 100 percent. You start when you're 18 at 100 percent and you go downhill from there," Bylsma joked. "He played two games and I definitely think he's getting his feet back underneath him. He's dealing with a lower body trunk issue and I think he's still working to feel comfortable on the ice. He's doing it last game played 25-plus minutes for us and playing a big role for us."

3. Hey now, you're all All-Star. With jet lag. Kyle Okposo had a fantastic time at the NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. He took the red-eye back to Buffalo and said he slept most of Monday. Meanwhile, the opportunity provided fun and some tips to bring back to his Sabres team.

"You just take guys' mindsets and pick guys brains a little bit," Okposo said. "Obviously they're some of the top players in the league so you just talk to them and see how they think. It's always good to talk about different things with different guys. You get some insights into different teams but more so things they're doing, things that work. You just take a few little things.

4. January has been a month for goals. The Sabres enter the game averaging 3.33 goals per game this month. Regardless of the outcome, the team will average more than three goals a game in a month for the first time since January 2013 when the team averaged 3.29 goals and went 3-3-1. The Sabres are 7-4-1 in 2017. Even if they are held without a goal, the team will still end the month averaging 3.08 goals per game.

5. Getting goals, but giving up opportunities. While the team is scoring more, especially since the return of Jack Eichel, the team is also tending to give up opportunities.

"We're getting close to almost a goal more since Jack has been back in our lineup, but in that time frame we've given up about four chances more against in those games," Bylsma said. "I think it's really a result of us playing a little bit more of an open game, a little more of a fast game and when we don't take care of the puck, we're giving up a few more chances against.

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