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Canadiens blank Sabres

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL (AP) -Jaroslav Halak recorded his second shutout in two nights and the Montreal Canadiens got two key goals from unexpected sources in a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Halak stopped 29 shots for his fifth shutout of the season. Montreal recorded consecutive blankings for the first time in four years. The Olympian from Slovakia, who has nine NHL shutouts, made 35 saves in a 1-0 win at Philadelphia on Friday.

The Canadiens got out to a 2-0 lead on rare goals by Ryan O'Byrne and Tom Pyatt. O'Byrne scored his second career goal - his first in 100 games - in the first before Pyatt made it a two-goal lead with his second goal in 37 games in the second.

Sergei Kostitsyn scored in the third for the Canadiens, who are sixth in the Eastern Conference with 86 points and three games remaining. Montreal is two points ahead of No. 7 Boston, which has four games left.

Halak hasn't allowed a goal since Dainius Zubrus scored with 4:41 remaining in New Jersey's 4-2 win at Montreal last Saturday.

Ryan Miller made 35 saves for Buffalo, which missed an opportunity to clinch its first Northeast Division title in three years.

The Sabres, who have four games remaining, are third in the East with 96 points - five ahead of Ottawa. The Senators, second in the Northeast and fifth in the conference, lost at the New York Islanders on Saturday and have three games left.

Montreal caught a break on the play that led to the opening goal. The puck struck the netting above the glass in the right corner but the Sabres kept on playing - despite Canadiens center Dominic Moore pointing up. O'Byrne then beat Miller with a shot from the right point for his first goal since March 3, 2008.

Pyatt gave Montreal a 2-0 lead when he put a rebound of Maxim Lapierre's shot past Miller for his first goal in 17 games.

Travis Moen nearly made it a three-goal lead 3:02 into the third when his shot went off the right post before caroming off Miller's back and into the outside of the net.

Moen got an assist, and Moore added his second of the game on Kostitsyn's seventh goal at 6:37.

NOTES: Eight Canadian Olympic medalists were introduced to the crowd before the game, including Charles Hamelin, who won two short track speedskating golds in Vancouver. ... Cristobal Huet was the last Canadiens goalie to record consecutive shutouts on March 9-11, 2006.

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