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Sabres hope to close homestand on high

by Brian Hunter
CANADIENS (1-1-1) at SABRES (1-2-1)

TV -- RDS (HD), MSG-B (HD)
Season series -- This is the first of six meetings between the Northeast Division rivals. Buffalo went 4-1-1 against Montreal last season, with Ryan Miller starting all six games. Andrei Kostitsyn of the Canadiens led all scorers with 4 goals, while Tim Connolly finished with 3 goals for the Sabres.

Big story -- This is Buffalo's last opportunity to salvage something out of a four-game homestand that has produced three losses so far -- the Sabres did manage a point from Wednesday’s 1-0 loss overtime to the Devils, thanks in large part to the brilliance of Miller in goal.
Team Scope:
Canadiens -- Carey Price was the top story for Montreal coming out of a 4-3 overtime loss to Tampa Bay in its home opener Wednesday. Price, much maligned at times over the past few seasons and the subject of fan debate after the Canadiens kept him and traded playoff hero Jaroslav Halak during the offseason, stopped 44 shots and had won over the Bell Centre crowd by the third period. But the Lightning still came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits before Ryan Malone scored with 51 seconds left in the extra period.

"It's not about me, it's about the team," a visibly disappointed Price said afterward. "I thought we had a chance to win the game and we couldn't do it."

Sabres -- For a team coming off consecutive home losses in which it yielded 10 goals, Buffalo didn't show much fire in the first period Wednesday when it was outshot 15-1 by New Jersey. Still, the Devils couldn't dent Miller and the game remained scoreless heading into overtime. But it took just 53 seconds for Ilya Kovalchuk to score and deal the Sabres a 1-0 defeat. Miller stopped the first 34 shots he faced.

"We're four games in and there isn't anything to freak out about," defenseman Tyler Myers said. "We had a lot of chances, we just didn't put them in."

Who's hot -- Michael Cammalleri has 2 goals, 3 points and a plus-4 rating in two games since missing the Canadiens’ season-opener due to suspension. He's tied with Tomas Plekanec (1-2-3) for the team scoring lead. ... Derek Roy had 4 goals and 5 points in the Sabres' first three games before he was blanked along with the rest of his teammates Wednesday by Martin Brodeur and the Devils.

Injury report -- Montreal remains without defenseman Andrei Markov, who is working his way back after right knee surgery. ... Buffalo defenseman Shaone Morrisonn injured his groin Wednesday and is likely to be out through the weekend, while forward Jason Pominville is out following a concussion suffered Monday against Chicago.

Stat pack -- The Canadiens still are looking for their first power-play goal of the season (0-for-9), although their penalty-killing unit is off to a successful start at 88.2 percent. ... The Sabres hadn't lost their first three home games of the season since 1993.

Puck drop -- Maxim Lapierre, one of the goal scorers Wednesday for Montreal, backed the continued efforts of Price following the game.

"Carey played great in Pittsburgh and he had another huge performance tonight, too. We know he's going to keep that up and it's up to us to be better in front of him," Lapierre said. "It's still early in the year and we have a lot to build on. We'll work on some things tomorrow and we'll be ready for the next one."
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