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Thibault posts shutout as Sabres sweep home-and-home with 3-0 win over Habs

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL - Jocelyn Thibault made 24 saves to shutout his former team as the Buffalo Sabres got goals from Jaroslav Spacek and Thomas Vanek to sweep the home-and-home series with a 3-0 victory Saturday over the Montreal Canadiens.

Derek Roy extended his point streak to five games with an assist and Jochen Hecht scored into an empty net for the Sabres (10-10-1), who won their fourth straight to even their record for the first time since Nov. 1.

Cristobal Huet made 32 saves for the Canadiens (12-8-3), who lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season after losing 4-2 in Buffalo on Friday.

Thibault, a Montreal native who played parts of four seasons for the Canadiens from 1995 to 1998, made his first start since Nov. 2 and only his third of the season to run his record to 2-1-0.

Huet began the season with only one regulation loss in his first eight starts, but he has since lost five of his last seven.

After coming out of the gates quickly to outshoot the Sabres 6-0 through the first seven minutes of the game, Montreal was outshot 35-18 the rest of the way.

Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau split up the first line of Saku Koivu, Michael Ryder and Christopher Higgins midway through the second period and used them on various line combinations in the third.

Koivu, Higgins and Ryder have combined for 13 points in their last 11 games, and they are a collective

minus-9 over that span.

After a scoreless first period, the Sabres took advantage of the second hooking penalty of the game called on Tom Kostopoulos to jump ahead 1-0. Brian Campbell's point shot rang off the post behind Huet and bounced right to Spacek, who rifled it into an open side for his fifth of the season at 9:38 - only nine seconds after the penalty to Kostopoulos.

Buffalo took a 2-0 lead less than five minutes later when Vanek and Michael Ryan rushed the Canadiens net and took several swings at a loose puck before Vanek finally got it past Huet at 13:54 for his sixth of the season.

The Canadiens were handed a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Vanek and Hecht took back-to-back penalties late in the third, but Montreal was unable to create any pressure on Thibault during the nearly four-minute power play.

Hecht iced it with an empty-netter at 19:33 of the third.

Buffalo was completing its seventh set of back-to-back games this season and earned a sweep for the second time. It was only the third set of two games in two nights for Montreal, and it was the first loss in the back end of those games.

Notes: Montreal D Francis Bouillon was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. His spot was filled by Josh Gorges, who played his eighth game of the seasonaBuffalo plays 20 sets of back-to-back games this season, representing nearly half its schedulea

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