Two years ago, both teams finished with 96 points and secured a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Both would be eliminated in the first round with a game seven loss on the road, the Sabres to Philadelphia and the Canadiens to Boston.
Last season injuries hit both teams hard with key players missing extended amounts of time. That was one factor in the Sabres and Canadiens both finishing with fewer points than the season before and come playoff time, finding themselves on the outside looking in.
That's pretty much where the similarities end, other than both teams being healthier this season.
While the Sabres find themselves close to the bottom of the conference standings, the Canadiens are contending for the top spot. So how did Montreal pull off this amazing turnaround?
For one, they probably weren't as bad as last season's numbers would indicate. Remember, they were a 96 point club, like the Sabres, two years ago.
Montreal plummeted to 78 points last season which was the lowest total in the East. The Sabres had 89 points. The Canadiens best defenseman, Andrei Markov missed all but 13 games due to injury and team captain Brian Gionta was sidelined for 51 games.
Both are back and have played in every game this season. Markov has 20 points and has been a key factor in the Canadiens power play which is 9th in the league after finishing 28th last season.
The presence of both men has helped the offense which is currently 5th best in the NHL after ending up just 19th last season.
Last season, Montreal was a minus 14 in goals for/goals against. This season the Habs are plus 22, third best in the Eastern Conference.
There are other reasons for the dramatic improvement like Thomas Plekanec playing more consistently. After recording just 35 points in 81 games last season, the teams leading scorer from two years ago, has 22 points in 30 games this season.
Young defenseman PK Subban has taken his game up a notch. Subban had 36 points last season but has 22 in 24 games this season after missing the first part of the schedule due to stalled contract talks.
As far as changes, Montreal did make a few including their General Manager and their Coach. Marc Bergevin was hired as the GM last May and he brought back former Canadiens coach Michel Therrien.
In the off season, the Canadiens bought out the contract of Scott Gomez and brought in some grit with the signings of Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong in free agency.
Montreal has also received a boost from a pair of rookies. Alex Galchenyuk, who was taken third in last June's draft, has 14 points while Brendan Gallagher, a fifth round pick in 2010 has 18 points.
Its added up to make quite an exciting season in Montreal as the Canadiens make a run at their first Northeast Division title since 2008. The Sabres, on the other hand, are hoping to avoid ending up in the basement of the division for the first time since 2004.