Since winning his first game as an NHL coach since 2008, Ted Nolan and the Buffalo Sabres haven't tasted victory since.
His team won't have an easy assignment Wednesday night when the Sabres try to prevent the visiting Montreal Canadiens from matching their longest win streak of the season.
Nolan's last victory before returning as coach of the Sabres on Nov. 13 came at the end of the 2007-08 season, his second and final one leading the New York Islanders. Buffalo defeated Toronto 3-1 in Nolan's first game two days after he was hired, but his team has been outscored 15-5 in four subsequent losses.
Buffalo (5-19-1) dropped to 2-10-1 at home with a 3-1 defeat to Detroit on Sunday. Cody Hodgson opened the scoring with his team-leading eighth goal, but Steve Ott failed to convert a penalty shot with the game tied in the second period.
''We can't just get by and feel like 1-1 is good,'' said Ryan Miller, who made 32 saves. ''We have to go for it at home, especially with a team playing three in four nights.''
With the league's worst record, the Sabres have several areas in dire need of improvement but none more than an offense averaging an NHL-low 1.64 goals.
The power play ranks near the bottom of the league at 14.9 percent and is 3 for 15 since Nolan took over.
"We're not setting the league on fire so we have to make sure we simplify our game and that's in all aspects of it, whether it's 5-on-5 or power play," Nolan told the team's official website. "We just have to make sure we do the simple things, get shots on net, create some rebounds."
One player Nolan needs more from is Matt Moulson, who scored two goals in his Sabres debut Oct. 28 after he was acquired from the Islanders, but has none in 11 games since.
Moulson has six goals and two assists in his last seven games against the Canadiens - all coming with the Islanders.
Miler has done his best to keep Buffalo in most games, posting a .919 save percentage that would rank as his best since 2009-10. He is 8-2-1 with a .937 save percentage in his past 11 starts versus Montreal.
The Canadiens (13-9-2), however, enter his matchup having scored 12 goals during a three-game win streak, one shy of their season best set Oct. 10-17.
Max Pacioretty scored twice and Tomas Plekanec also tallied while helping keep scoring leader Sidney Crosby pointless in a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
''Every aspect of his game was excellent,'' coach Michel Therrien said of Plekanec. ''He's a smart player. He's playing the right way. He's always in a good position on the ice. He's doing a lot of good things. I'm confident putting guys like that on the ice."
Carey Price stopped 29 shots in the win and will be back in net Wednesday looking to improve on his 2-5-4 record in his last 11 starts against Buffalo. Price, though, has a 2.05 goals-against average in those games.
The Sabres won three of five meetings against the Canadiens last season and are 4-1-1 in the last six in Buffalo.
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