Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Monday night’s game between the Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre.
Cody Hodgson scored two second-period goals to power the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-1 victory over the Canadiens Monday night at the Bell Centre.
The win gave the Sabres a sweep of their home-and-home series against Montreal. Buffalo eked out a 1-0 win Saturday in Buffalo.
“We’re missing some key players and we have to have other guys step up,” said Coach Michel Therrien. “We played a strong game the other night in Buffalo but tonight was a letdown. We gave the guys an optional morning skate but maybe they all got tired shoveling snow.”
Veteran Jochen Hecht opened the scoring at 6:22 of the first period and Hodgson upped the count to 3-0 when he scored at 5:06 and 14:35 of the second period.
‘We had pretty good coverage on (Thomas) Vanek and (Jason) Pominville but Hodgson sort of snuck in there,” said defenceman Josh Gorges. “Vanek gave him a great pass on the first goal and we let him get to a rebound on the second one.”
Brian Gionta spoiled Ryan Miller’s bid for a second consecutive shutout when he scored at 8:13 of the third period while Vanek completed the scoring with an empty-netter at 19:03.
While the Canadiens outshot the Sabres 39-25 on Saturday, they were outshot 29-21 Monday.
The Canadiens will be on the road Wednesday to start the first half of their six-game Christmas road trip and Therrien said that David Desharnais will accompany the team.
“He’s very close,” said Therrien. “He skated this morning and he wants to get back out there. I don’t think he’ll be ready for Ottawa but he should play at some point before Christmas.”
A hip pointer is expected to keep defenceman P.K. Subban on the sidelines for another three weeks. He won’t go on the pre-Christmas portion of the road trip but he will join the team for its post-season jaunt to Florida.
“Our medical staff will monitor his progress,” said Therrien. “The warm weather should be good for everybody.”
The pre-Christmas schedule shows that someone in the NHL head office has a perverse sense of humour because the Canadiens will be bouncing back and forth across the border. They play in Ottawa Wednesday, Washington Friday and Toronto Saturday.