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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 27th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (13-9-2) at Buffalo Sabres (5-19-1), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to match their longest winning streak of the season when they visit the lowly Buffalo Sabres in Wednesday's clash at First Niagara Center.
Montreal has won its past three outings and can tie a four-game run from Oct. 10-17 with another victory on Wednesday. The Canadiens have seemed to turn the corner after beginning November on a four-game slide. The club is 5-1-1 in seven games since that slump from earlier this month.
After beginning this current run with a 6-2 win over Minnesota, the Habs have turned in consecutive 3-2 regulation decisions against Washington and Pittsburgh. They beat the Capitals in D.C. on Friday before returning home to down the Penguins on the following night.
Max Pacioretty's hot play has helped sparked Montreal's current streak and the winger was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week after scoring five goals in his past three games.
Pacioretty, who notched a natural hat trick in last Tuesday's win over the Wild, pumped home two more goals to lead the Canadiens in their 3-2 win over the visiting Penguins. Pacioretty's second tally came 1:20 after Tomas Plekanec had given the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the third period.
"Obviously, winning three games in a row is good for anyone's confidence," said Pacioretty. "Everyone is contributing and it's good for the team's confidence."
Carey Price made 29 saves for Montreal, which wound up holding on for the victory after James Neal scored twice in the third period for Pittsburgh. Price expects to get the start tonight and is 10-9-7 with a 2.04 goals against average in 26 career games against Buffalo.
Montreal is 6-4-0 as the visiting team this season and is beginning a brief two-game swing on Wednesday. The Habs will complete the residency with Friday's rematch against the Caps.
Buffalo, meanwhile, is still last in the NHL standings this season with 11 points off a dreadful 5-19-1 record.
Things haven't gotten much better since Ted Nolan replaced fired head coach Ron Rolston on an interim basis. The Sabres won their first game with Nolan back behind the bench, beating Toronto on Nov. 15, but have since dropped four straight in regulation.
The Sabres have scored a total of five goals during their current 0-4 stretch and the club has been held to one tally in each of its past three outings. Buffalo is averaging only 1.64 goals per game, making the Sabres the lowest- scoring team in the NHL this season.
Buffalo last played on Sunday when it was dealt a 3-1 loss by the visiting Detroit Red Wings. The score was tied at 1-1 heading into the third period, but the Red Wings added a power-play goal from Johan Franzen and an empty- netter from Daniel Alfredsson to skate away with the win in the final 20 minutes.
Cody Hodgson scored the lone goal for Buffalo in the first period, while Sabres forward Steve Ott missed a penalty shot in the middle stanza.
Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots in the loss.
"You can't just be satisfied with a little glimmer of what we feel is the right way to play," Miller said. "We have to not let teams back in the game."
The recent loss came at the start of a three-game homestand and dropped Buffalo's record at First Niagara Center to 2-10-1 this season. The Sabres have taken four of the last six meetings with the Canadiens in Western New York and Buffalo has claimed five of the past seven encounters overall.
Miller expects to get the start Wednesday against Montreal. The former Vezina Trophy winner is 25-10-6 with a 2.33 GAA in 41 outings versus the Habs.
11/27 10:50:16 ET