Buffalo (16-19-1) at Montreal (19-15-2)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Tue Jan 6, 2004
  • TV: RDS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Buffalo Sabres look to record their longest unbeaten streak of the season and the Montreal Canadiens try to match theirs when the Northeast Division rivals meet for the third time this season.

Buffalo tied its season-best unbeaten run at three games on Saturday, skating to a 3-3 tie on the road with the Northeast-leading Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Sabres took a 3-1 lead after second-period goals by Miroslav Satan, Chris Drury and Rory Fitzpatrick, but allowed the Leafs to score twice in the third.

With the draw, Buffalo has earned a point in six of seven contests (4-1-2) after a seven-game losing streak.

“We’re making strides,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve been getting more shots at the net and more people at the net. It’s starting to pay off.”

Montreal continued its strong play on Sunday with a 4-1 home win over the Washington Capitals, improving to 3-0-1 in its last four games. The Canadiens went a season-high five straight without a loss (3-0-2) from Nov. 28-Dec. 6.

Michael Ryder scored twice and assisted on Sheldon Souray’s goal Sunday as Montreal won consecutive games for the first time in more than two months.

“To go that long without putting together back-to-back wins, but to still be in the position we are, I think is pretty good,” Souray said. “Now that the halfway point is here, we’ve got something to build on.”

The Canadiens have earned at least a point in nine of their last 11 (6-2-2-1), and are four games over .500 for the first time this season. They have gone 4-0-1 in their last five at the Bell Centre.

Goalie Jose Theodore has allowed one goal in each contest during Montreal’s four-game unbeaten streak, and is unbeaten in regulation in his last six appearances.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 4): Sabres - 37 points, 5th place, 16 PB, Northeast Division. Canadiens - 45 points, 3rd place, 8 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sabres - Satan, 15 goals; Drury, 16 assists; Daniel Briere, 27 points; Andrew Peters, 83 PIM. Canadiens - Souray and Richard Zednik, 13 goals; Mike Ribeiro, 21 assists and 28 points; Darren Langdon, 77 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 4): Sabres - Power play: 12.7 percent (21 for 165), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.7 percent (150 for 177), 13th (tied). Canadiens - Power play: 17.6 percent (28 for 159), 9th. Penalty killing: 82.5 percent (127 for 154), 24th.

GOALTENDERS: Sabres - Martin Biron (8-8-3, 2.72 GAA); Ryan Miller (0-3-0, 5.06). Canadiens - Theodore (16-13-4, 4 SO, 2.08); Mathieu Garon (3-4-1, 2.46).

SEASON SERIES: 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 8; Canadiens, 3-0. At Montreal, Theodore made 16 saves for his 21st career shutout, and Patrice Brisebois had two assists as the Canadiens ended a three-game losing streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sabres - 7-11-2-0 on the road; Canadiens - 11-7-3-0 at home.

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