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Canadiens-Sabres Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Montreal Canadiens (25-22-7) at Buffalo Sabres (35-15-3).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Montreal Canadiens get a second shot at trying to stop the Buffalo Sabres' winning streak when the teams conclude a home-and-home series.

The clubs opened the set in Montreal on Tuesday and the Canadiens sent the game into overtime on Alexei Kovalev's 12th goal of the season with 3:36 left in regulation.

The Sabres, though, extended their winning streak to six games with a 3-2 victory when Maxim Afinogenov scored his second power-play goal of the game on a 5-on-3 advantage 30 seconds into the extra period.

Buffalo had the two-man advantage because Saku Koivu was sent off for holding a stick at 19:02 of the third and Steve Begin was called for high-sticking with 7.9 seconds left.

"We played a pretty good game," Afinogenov said. "We were up 2-1 and that was a good play by Kovalev when he scored. Those were two surprise penalties for us at the end because I thought there was nothing there, but the ref called two penalties."

The victory was Buffalo's third straight over Montreal after the Canadiens won the first two meetings this season.

"We're not happy with the point," Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet said. "But we'll take it."

The Sabres, who've won 23 of 29 games (23-6-3) since getting off to an 8-9-0 start, continued to ride goaltender Ryan Miller.

The 25-year-old has started each game during the six-game run and is 13-3 with a 1.80 goals-against-average since returning from a broken right thumb on Dec. 19, allowing three goals or less in 15 of 16 starts.

The Sabres had a season-high seven-game winning streak from Dec. 4-19.

Buffalo announced Wednesday that center Daniel Briere will postpone his return until after the Olympics while he recovers from sports hernia surgery.

The Buffalo co-captain, who had surgery in December, has missed 21 games and began practicing with the team this week with hopes of returning this weekend. Briere expects to be ready when the Sabres host Atlanta on March 1.

Despite being bothered by the injury for most of the season, Briere was among the Sabres leaders with 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) in 24 games before his surgery.

STANDINGS: Canadiens - 57 points, 4th place (tied), 20 PB, Northeast Division. Sabres - 73 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 23 goals; Koivu and Kovalev, 25 assists; Koivu, 39 points; Begin, 97 PIM. Sabres - Ales Kotalik, 21 goals; Teppo Numminen, 30 assists; Chris Drury, 42 points; Andrew Peters, 63 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canadiens - Power play: 18.5 percent (56 for 303), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.5 percent (272 for 338), 23rd. Sabres - Power play: 21.2 percent (67 for 316), 2nd. Penalty killing: 86.0 percent (240 for 279), 3rd.

GOALTENDERS: Canadiens - Jose Theodore (17-15-5, 3.46 GAA); Huet (5-5-2, 2 SO, 2.51). Sabres - Miller (19-7-0, 2.18); Martin Biron (15-6-3, 2.98).

SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 3-2.

LAST MEETING: Tuesday; Sabres 3-2, OT. At Montreal, Miller made 30 saves and Derek Roy also scored for Buffalo.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canadiens - 9-15-4 on the road; Sabres - 17-7-2 at home.

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