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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pregame Primer: Habs versus Sabres - whole lotta shaking going on

With about six and a half hours to go till game time, there are a bunch of interesting developments going on with the Habs right now as follows:

1. Mike Cammalleri will be back in the lineup after missing 17 games.
2. Marc-Andre Bergeron will be back in the lineup after missing 15 games.
3. Carey Price will get his first start since being pulled against Anaheim March 7th.
4. Maxim Lapierre will be watching the game from the pressbox as a healthy scratch
5. Mathieu Darche will take Lapierre's spot on the fourth line
6. Travis Moen, who suffered a severe facial laceration last game, will not play tonight
5. Tom Pyatt will take Moen's spot on the third line

You had to figure that with Lapierre's weak play all season long and his lack of desperation since rejoining the team after his suspension, he'd become the odd man out.

If there is one thing that we can always expect from Jacques Martin, it is that he rewards players and awards ice-time based on the their effort. While there are sometimes exceptions to the rule—see Kostitsyn, Andrei for more info—Coach Martin generally does not tolerate slackers.

If you are performing, you get more ice time—hello, Glen Metropolit! If not, you drop down a line or two as Benoit Pouliot did last game.

After two disappointing performances against division rivals the last two games, I am expecting a lot out of the team tonight. Price, who hasn't played in a dog's age, should be chomping at the bit to show that he should stay in the net.

Cammalleri and Bergeron should be filled with adrenaline with a hop to their step, all night, and should help the Habs anemic powerplay. Pyatt and Darche should be eager to show that they belong more than Lapierre does.

All of this is a recipe for an excellent game tonight versus a Sabres team that looks like they are really hitting their stride.

Expect a playoff atmosphere tonight as it is very possible that we will be witnessing a preview of a first round matchup.

So enjoy the game. I know I will!

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