Saku Koivu and the Montreal Canadiens offense have been surging, but they've been sluggish against the Buffalo Sabres lately.
The Canadiens try to end their struggles against their Northeast Division rivals and win a season-high fourth straight game when they visit the Sabres on Tuesday.
Montreal (19-8-5) has won four of five, scoring 20 goals. The Canadiens' only defeat in that stretch came in a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo (24-6-2) on Dec. 9.
The division-leading Sabres lead second-place Montreal by seven points, and are 3-0-1 against them this season. Buffalo has allowed no more than two goals in its last three games against the Canadiens, and is 8-2-2 against them since the start of last season.
Montreal has dominated the Sabres in special teams play, though, converting four of 15 power-play chances while killing all 22 of Buffalo's opportunities.
The Canadiens were 4-for-7 on the power play in their 6-4 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Koivu scored twice for the second game in a row, and has four multigoal games in December. The franchise record for multigoal games in one month is five, set by Maurice Richard in 1944, and matched by Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt.
"I've been working a lot on my shot and things around the net, maybe that's one of the reasons, but I'm not really used to scoring that many goals, it's been more of a playmaking thing," the Montreal captain said. "But I'll take these goals, and it's obviously enjoyable."
Koivu leads the Canadiens with 14 goals, three shy of his total from all of last season and seven away from his career high set in 2002-03.
He had a two-goal game in Montreal's 5-4 shootout loss to the Sabres in the season opener on Oct. 6, but has only one over the past three meetings.
While Montreal's offense is getting on track, Buffalo has scored just three goals in its last two games.
The Sabres still lead the Eastern Conference with 121 goals, but after starting the season 20-3-2, they are 4-3-0 since Dec. 2.
They fell 3-1 to Ottawa on Saturday, and have not lost consecutive games all season.
Buffalo gave up two power-play goals to the Senators and scored only once in its six opportunities. The Sabres are 5-of-56 (8.9 percent) with the man advantage in their last 10 games.
"They were ready and took advantage of the chances we handed them," said Jochen Hecht, who scored Buffalo's only goal. "We couldn't bear down on ours."
Left wing Thomas Vanek leads the Sabres with 18 goals, but has only one in his last six games. He has one goal in 11 shots against the Canadiens this season.
Goaltender Ryan Miller lost for just the second time in his last nine starts on Saturday. He has been in net for each game against Montreal this season, posting a 2.13 goals-against average, and is 7-0-2 with a 1.94 GAA all-time versus the Canadiens.
Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet has opposed Miller in each meeting this season, posting a 2.37 GAA, but got little help from his offense.
Huet is 10-1-1 with a 2.23 GAA and a shutout since Nov. 13.