Sabres try to snap epic skid, win season series with Habs

( – The Buffalo Sabres have yet to win since the calendar
flipped to 2015 but the NHL basement dwellers are hoping a stop in Montreal
can change that.

The Sabres will try to win the season series against the Canadiens when the
Atlantic Division foes meet for a fourth and final time in 2014-15 with
Tuesday’s clash at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

Buffalo is last in the league with only 31 points and the club is mired in the
worst stretch in franchise history, having lost 14 straight — all in
regulation. The Sabres, who are three regulation losses shy from matching the
worst losing streak in NHL history, haven’t won since beating the visiting New
York Islanders on Dec. 27.

However, the Sabres own a 2-0-1 record this season against the Canadiens, who
enter Tuesday’s matchup tied for second in the Atlantic with Detroit and 36
points ahead of Buffalo in the standings.

Montreal claimed the first meeting of the 2014-15 series in Buffalo, posting a
2-1 shootout victory on Nov. 5. The Sabres, however, swept a home-and-home
series from the Habs later that month, posting a 2-1 regulation win in Buffalo
on Nov. 28 before notching a 4-3 shootout win the following night at the Bell
Centre. The win in Montreal on Nov. 29 was Buffalo’s last road win and Ted
Nolan’s club has gone 0-13-1 as the guest since.

Tonight, the Sabres, who are just 4-20-1 on the road this season, will try for
their fourth win in six trips to Montreal.

Buffalo saw its road skid reach 14 in its last trip to the ice. The Sabres
fell 5-2 in Vancouver on Friday, as former longtime Buffalo goaltender Ryan
Miller faced his former team for the first time and made 20 saves for the
victory. Miller played against the team he won a Vezina Trophy with in 2009-10
for the first time since being traded to St. Louis last February.

Chris Stewart had both the goals for the Sabres, while Matt Hackett allowed
four goals on 37 shots in the loss. Stewart has four goals and two assists
over his last five games, making the veteran forward one of the few bright
spots for the Sabres of late.

Stewart scored on the power play to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead just four minutes
into Friday’s game. It marked the fifth straight game in which the Sabres
scored the first goal.

“It’s not from a lack of effort,” Stewart said of his club’s epic skid. “Teams
kick you when you’re down and they’re not going to take it easy on you.
They’re going to go for 15, 16, 17.

“No one’s going to want to be that team who kind of gave up that losing streak
to us. We’re going into Montreal and that’s a team that we’ve been playing
well against lately, but they’re going to be ready for us.”

Buffalo is capping a five-game road trip tonight before beginning a five-game
homestand Thursday against St. Louis.

The Canadiens will not only try to exact some payback tonight against Buffalo
for the November home-and-home sweep, but the Habs also hope to bounce back
from Sunday’s home loss against Arizona.

Montreal, which is one point behind Tampa for first place in the Atlantic,
earned a fifth straight win Saturday by opening a four-game homestand with a
1-0 overtime win against Washington. However, the Habs fell 3-2 the following
day against Arizona as the Coyotes halted Montreal’s four-game home winning
streak and dealt the Canadiens their first loss at Bell Centre since Jan. 10
against Pittsburgh.

The Canadiens shoot for a return to the win column tonight when they welcome
star goaltender Carey Price back to the crease. Price beat the Capitals on
Saturday for his second straight shutout win before getting Sunday off in
favor of backup Dustin Tokarski, who allowed the Coyotes to post three goals
on 32 shots.

“Tokarski was good for part of the game,” said Canadiens coach Michel
Therrien. “I’m sure he’d like to see the second goal again.”

Alex Galchenyuk scored both goals for Montreal, which fell to 17-6-2 on home
ice. The Canadiens will complete their homestand on Saturday against the New
Jersey Devils.

Price has never lost to the Coyotes, going 6-0 with a 1.65 goals against
average over six lifetime starts.