Off to a strong start on their three-game road trip, the Buffalo Sabres look to continue that success in a place where they haven’t found much recently.
The Northeast Division-leading Sabres try for their fourth straight victory Monday night when they take on the Montreal Canadiens, who lost their last two games but have dominated this series at the Bell Centre of late.
“We talked about this all year with my game, playing a bigger role with the team and trying to contribute,” said Kaleta, who had 10 goals in 124 career games heading into Saturday. “I was put in that position tonight. It was a good effort by the whole team and I just got the bounces.”
Kaleta’s winner in the second period was the Sabres’ first short-handed goal of the season.
After backup Patrick Lalime(notes) made the start in Buffalo’s 2-1 victory over Chicago on Friday, Ryan Miller(notes) returned Saturday and made 36 saves. He did allow two first-period power-play goals during a 1:55 span.
“It’s always an adventure,” said Miller, who leads the NHL with a 1.83 goals-against average. “We really had to adjust and find some battle. We stepped up and did a really nice job.”
Miller is likely to be in net Monday as Buffalo seeks its second straight victory at the Bell Centre. The Sabres won 4-3 in a shootout March 28 in the last meeting in Montreal, but that result was hardly indicative of how the series has gone there of late.
Buffalo broke a three-game road skid against Montreal with that victory, and the Sabres had lost seven of eight at the Bell Centre going into the game.
Miller had gone 0-3-1 with a 2.74 GAA in his previous four starts in Montreal.
He defeated Carey Price(notes) in that contest, and Price could oppose Miller again Monday. Price, 2-0-1 with a 1.95 GAA in three career home starts versus Buffalo, made 34 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Sabres on Oct. 3.
The Canadiens, opening a stretch of four games in six nights, will be looking to snap Buffalo’s three-game road winning streak.
“That was the key,” coach Jacques Martin said of his team being called for nine penalties. “We had a good start and took the lead. The penalties hurt us.”
Montreal has killed off eight of Buffalo’s nine power-play opportunities as the teams have split two meetings this season. Thomas Vanek(notes) recorded a career-best three assists and six Sabres scored in a 6-2 victory over Montreal on Dec. 3.