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Habs bring momentum into meeting with Sabres
(SportsNetwork.com) - Fresh off beating the hottest team in the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens will try to take care of the basement-dwelling Buffalo Sabres when the Atlantic Division foes meet Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
Montreal is home Tuesday after beating the Bruins on the road last night, ending Boston's 12-game winning streak in the process. Alex Galchenyuk scored the only goal in a four-round shootout to snap Boston's longest winning streak in 43 years.
Galchenyuk's forehand beat Tuukka Rask over the right pad to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 win, ending the Bruins' streak two wins shy of a franchise record.
The Canadiens led most of the game after Alexei Emelin's goal 6:39 into the first period but Patrice Bergeron tied it for Boston with 5:26 remaining in regulation on a deflected shot.
Peter Budaj made 28 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped Bergeron, Jarome Iginla, Brad Marchand and David Krejci in the shootout to help Montreal win for the fifth time in six games.
The Canadiens enter Tuesday tied with Tampa Bay for second place in the Atlantic Division, but the Habs can take sole possession of that spot with the Lightning idle on Tuesday. The top three teams in each division earn automatic bids to the playoffs.
Montreal and the Lightning are seven points ahead of Detroit and Toronto for the Atlantic's last two automatic berths.
After downing the NHL-leading Bruins last night, Montreal is aiming to complete a season series sweep of the Sabres on Tuesday. The Habs are 3-0 against Buffalo in 2013-14, outscoring the NHL's worst team by an 8-3 margin along the way.
The Canadiens have taken four straight over the Sabres overall, but Buffalo does have seven wins in its last nine games at the Bell Centre.
Montreal winger Thomas Vanek will face his former team for the second time tonight. The sniper was traded from Buffalo to the New York Islanders back in October, but didn't play against the Sabres before being shipped to Montreal on March 5. Vanek finally returned to Buffalo on March 16 as a member of the Habs, but failed to register a point in Montreal's 2-0 win.
Carey Price expects to get the start for the Canadiens on Tuesday. Montreal's No. 1 netminder is 12-9-7 with a 2.00 goals against average and .933 save percentage in 28 career games against the Sabres.
The Habs will follow up Tuesday's home game by heading out on a four-game road trip that will see them visit Detroit, Florida, Tampa and Ottawa. Montreal has similar home and away records this season, going 20-12-5 at the Bell Centre and 20-14-2 everywhere else.
The Sabres, who are last in the NHL with 48 points, lost for the eighth time in nine games in their last trip to the ice, dropping Sunday's 4-2 decision in Vancouver. Buffalo had snapped a seven-game slide with Thursday's win in Edmonton, but failed to record consecutive victories for the first time since late February.
Buffalo scored twice in the first 3:29 of Saturday's game, but couldn't get another one past Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack, who made 18 saves for the win.
Nathan Lieuwen surrendered all four Vancouver goals on 36 shots, while Tyler Ennis and Jamie McBain recorded the early goals for Buffalo.
"You've got to play good all the time. That's a lesson to learn and something we have to do to move forward," Buffalo head coach Ted Nolan said.
The Sabres fell to 8-23-3 as the visiting team this season and will play the fourth part of a five-game road trip tonight. Buffalo is scheduled to close the swing Thursday in Nashville.
With goaltenders Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth still out with injuries, Matt Hackett expects to get the call in net on Tuesday.
03/25 11:08:41 ET