CANADIENS (13-9-2) at SABRES (5-19-1)
TV: RDS, TSN-HABS, MSG-B
Last 10: Montreal 5-3-2; Buffalo 3-7-0
Season series: The Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres, longtime Northeast Division rivals, square off for the first time as Atlantic Division foes. This will be the first of four games this season after the Sabres took three of five last season. Their last matchup in April 2013 was a 5-1 Canadiens victory that clinched a playoff berth for Montreal.
Big story: The Sabres have trouble scoring; the Canadiens don’t give up many goals. Buffalo has scored an NHL-low 44 goals and is the only team averaging fewer than two goals a game (1.6). Montreal allows the second-fewest goals in the league at 2.1 per game.
Canadiens: Montreal comes in winners of three in a row, all over current playoff teams, beating the Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Max Pacioretty had two goals in the 3-2 win against Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"There's obviously going to be times where things don't go our way. … We've played some good teams and had some success last week, and now we have to build on that moving forward," defenseman Josh Gorges said after practice Monday.
During the winning streak, Montreal has scored three power-play goals. The Canadiens rank in the top five in power-play percentage, and much of that has to do with puck-moving defenseman Andrei Markov running the point.
"Everybody sees the big shot from P.K. [Subban] but [Andrei Markov] controlling things back there, when he wasn't healthy obviously it was a big hit to our power play," captain Brian Gionta said Monday. "When he's back, it makes it look so easy. He's the real key to it. Everything goes through him. The way he sees the ice is unbelievable."
Sabres: Don't blame the losing streak on Ryan Miller, who started and kept Buffalo in three of the four losses. Miller allowed nine goals but has stopped 100 of 109 shots, a .927 save percentage. Miller has faced 30 or more shots 16 times in his 18 starts.
"There's glimpses of playing well, then we collapse. We just got to learn to do it on a consistent basis and having faith in one another. Right now, I don't think we have too much faith in one another and we have to work on that. When things aren't going well, that's usually what happens," interim coach Ted Nolan told the Sabres website Monday.
Who's hot: The Sabres have scored five goals in four games, but Tyler Ennis has figured in on three of those with two goals and an assist. … Pacioretty has five goals and is plus-5 in his past three games. Goalie Carey Price hasn't allowed more than two goals in his past five starts.
Injury report: Forward Cody McCormick (upper body) is the only player on injured reserve for Buffalo. … Montreal is also fairly healthy with defenseman Davis Drewiske (shoulder) on IR and forward Rene Bourque recovering from a lower-body injury. Coach Michel Therrien said Tuesday that "Bourque got the green light from the doctors" but will not play Wednesday.
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