Montreal (12-13-2) at Buffalo (15-7-2)

  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Thu Dec 3, 2009
  • TV: RDS, MSG
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Goaltender Ryan Miller(notes) is having one of his best stretches in what has been an outstanding season for the Buffalo Sabres. The return of defenseman Craig Rivet(notes) should only help.

With Miller expected to be in net again, the Sabres may also have their captain back when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Miller stopped 38 shots to lead Buffalo (15-7-2) to its third straight win, 3-0 over Toronto on Monday night. The shutout was Miller’s third of the season.

After two days off, Miller, who has played in 21 of the Sabres’ 24 games, isn’t expected to get an extended break. He is 15-4-2 and leads the NHL with a 1.84 goals-against average.

“I’m just trying to stay in my little groove and not sway from it,” Miller said.

Miller has been particularly tough over his last five games, posting a 1.40 GAA. He allowed one goal over the last two contests despite Rivet’s absence in those games.

Rivet has been missing from Buffalo’s blueline since suffering a leg injury in a 4-2 win at Philadelphia on Friday night. He made it through a full practice Wednesday, and coach Lindy Ruff said Rivet will be a game-time decision.

“There is still some discomfort, but for the most part pretty positive,” Rivet told the Sabres’ official Web site.

The Sabres will have at least one player return. Right wing Patrick Kaleta(notes) has completed a two-game suspension after receiving a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for boarding versus the Flyers.

“I don’t ease up,” Kaleta said. “I’ll go out there and play the same way I play every single game. That’s my style of play and that’s what got me here so nothing is going to change.”

Scott Gomez(notes) was back on the ice for Montreal (12-13-2) on Tuesday night after missing four games with a groin injury, but the Canadiens lost 3-0 to the Maple Leafs.

Gomez was held off the scoresheet for the sixth straight game, and Montreal lost its third in a row. The veteran center has not scored a goal in his last 14 games.

Canadiens right wing Matt D’Agostini(notes) also returned after missing 13 games due to a concussion and a knee injury, while defenseman Hall Gill (foot) could play in his first game since Oct. 31.

With so many players coming back, former first-round pick Kyle Chipchura(notes) became expendable. The third-year center, who has no points in 19 games, was traded to Anaheim on Wednesday for a fourth-round pick in 2011.

Montreal needs somebody to step up offensively. The Canadiens have scored four goals during their skid.

Montreal center Tomas Plekanec(notes) scored in a 4-3 shootout defeat to Washington on Saturday, but didn’t record a point in the other two losses. He had one goal and six assists in the four contests prior to the slide.

Plekanec had one goal and no assists in his last eight games against Buffalo.

Brian Gionta(notes) scored on an assist from Gomez in overtime to give Montreal a 2-1 win over Buffalo in its season opener Oct. 3.

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Thursday, Dec 3