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by Rob Crean / Buffalo Sabres

31 SVS, SO 22 SVS 2 G

MONTREAL (AP) - The Buffalo Sabres believe they can compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The trick now is to make sure they reach them.

Ryan Miller made 31 saves for his fourth shutout and Nathan Gerbe scored twice to lead Buffalo to a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Miller recorded his 21st career shutout, his first since a 36-save effort in a 3-0 win over San Jose on Jan. 6... More

Nathan Gerbe’s hot streak continued when the forward re-directed a point shot by Tyler Myers in the slot at 8:56 of the second period to beat Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and break a scoreless tie.  Gerbe and Paul Gaustad cycled the puck down low before it came out to the point on two occasions. On the second, Myers' shot was toward the net was tipped in by Gerbe.  Gerbe has now scored a goal in three consecutive games for the second time this season.  Just like that stretch from Jan. 20-23, he has four goals in a three game span.  He added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the win.  Tuesday was Gerbe’s second multi-goal game of the season.

Ryan Miller stopped all 31 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season and the 21st of his career. It was also his second career shutout against Montreal.  Miller saw the most action in the first period when he faced 12 shots, but also came up big in the final minute of the second period when he made several saves to preserve Buffalo’s 1-0 lead heading into the second intermission.  He also made nine saves in the third period.  Over the last four games, Miller has turned aside 114 of 121 shots for a .942 save percentage in that span.

- The Sabres’ win means that they have not lost consecutive games since Feb. 16-20 when they lost three in a row.  Since then, they have gone 9-3-3 over a 15-game stretch.

That might have been our best chess match of the year. We did a good job, we stuck to it all night. I thought all three periods, we did exactly what we needed to do." - Sabres Goalie Ryan Miller
- Tyler Myers’ assist on Gerbe’s goal gives him five assists in the last three games.

- Mark Mancari had his two-game point streak snapped.  He had entered the game with four points (1-3-4) in the two previous games.  Mancari led the Sabres with four shots on goal against Montreal.

- Like Mancari, Tim Connolly, Tyler Ennis and Thomas Vanek all had two-game point streaks snapped as well.

- This was Buffalo’s first shutout since Jan. 6, when they went on the road to San Jose and defeated the Sharks 3-0.

- With the win, the Sabres finished with a 3-3-0 record against the Canadiens for the season.  After losing the first three, Buffalo won the rest of the meetings.  This was the team’s first regulation win over Montreal this season.

- Jordan Leopold led all Buffalo skaters with 24:19 of ice time.  The only player in the game with more time on ice was Montreal’s P.K. Subban, who skated one more second than Leopold did.

- The Sabres won the battle in the faceoff circles, winning 52 percent of the draws on the night (23-44).

- Steve Montador (lower body), Jochen Hecht (upper body), Patrick Kaleta (bone bruise in leg) and Patrick Lalime (knee) remained sidelined for Buffalo.

- Forwards Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern and defensemen Brent Sopel and Yannick Weber were out of the lineup for Montreal.

Buffalo will once again play back-to-back home games as the Florida Panthers visit HSBC Arena on Friday and the New Jersey Devils come to town the following day.  The Sabres have already played three such sets this season and split them all.  In each case, they won the first game and lost the second outing, with two of the losses coming in overtime.  Friday’s game will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between Buffalo and Florida.  The Panthers have won two of the first three, but the Sabres won the most recent meeting when Tyler Myers scored the game-winner in overtime on Feb. 10 in Florida.

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