Richard Zednik denied Martin Biron of a shutout when he scored his seventh goal of the season.
BUFFALO - Despite outshooting their hosts by a wide margin, the Canadiens ran into a red-hot goalie in the Sabres' Martin Biron in a 3-1 loss to Buffalo at the HSBC Arena on Friday night.
In their last visit on Nov. 4, the Canadiens (14-6-3) snapped a four-year winless skid on the Sabres' home-ice with their first win in eight meetings. Since that victory, Claude Julien's troops have lost three straight on the road after opening the season 6-0-1 away from the Bell Centre.
The win leaves Buffalo (13-9-1) just four points behind Montreal as Biron continued his recent roll that has seen him win his last four starts in place of injured Ryan Miller, who supplanted Biron as the Sabres' No. 1 man at the start of the season.
The Lac St. Charles native had a busy night, turning aside 40-of-41shots. Biron was especially solid in the final minute of the second period, stopping all four Montreal shots, allowing his team to hold on to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. Ales Kotalik, stepping up in the absence of the injured Daniel Briere, joined his teammate as the Sabres' leading scorer when he potted his 12th of the season. Defenseman Brian Campbell doubled the score when he notched his fifth of the campaign.
With his sixth win of 2005-06 Friday night, Biron improved his career record against Montreal to 11-5, lowering his goals-against average to 2.00. Richard Zednik denied the goaltender of a shutout at the 3:38 mark of the third period. Taking advantage on one of five power-play opportunities on the night, Zednik redirected a pass from Andrei Markov for his seventh of the season.
Tim Connolly closed out the scoring for the home team when his wrist shot beat Yann Danis on the Sabres' power-play. Danis, who had been the starter when the Canadiens snapped their HSBC Arena winless streak three weeks ago, stopped 28-of-31 shots in his second loss of the campaign.
The Canadiens will continue their road trip Saturday in Toronto before facing the NHL-leading Senators on Tuesday in Ottawa.
NOTES: D Sheldon Souray (groin) did not make the road trip... After not playing a single shift in Montreal's win over the Thrashers on Tuesday, D Mark Streit logged 16:16, his third highest total of the season... RW Michael Ryder had a team-high six shots... The Sabres have scored at least one power-play marker in 16 of their last 17 games...The Canadiens are now 10-4 when they out-shoot their opponent.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com