MONTREAL -- Thomas Vanek scored twice in the second, Ryan Miller made 37 saves, and the Buffalo Sabres handed Montreal only its second regulation loss in 20 games with a 2-1 win over the Canadiens on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Vanek, who was back in the lineup after missing Thursday's 5-4 shootout win over Toronto, scored on a two-man advantage midway through the middle period. He put Buffalo up 2-0 with his second goal of the game late in the second.
Michael Ryder scored on a power-play in the third to ruin Miller's shutout bid with 11:43 left in the third. Montreal held a 38-18 advantage in shots, including 16-5 in the third.
The Sabres have won three in a row, including a 3-2 overtime win at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night. Buffalo is 4-1-1 in its last six games.
Carey Price stopped 16 shots for the Canadiens, who lost in regulation for the first time in eight games (6-1-1). Montreal, which has 45 points, three behind Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference lead, failed to record a standings point for just the second time in 20 games (14-2-4).
The Sabres took advantage of a lengthy two-man advantage midway through the second. Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban cleared the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty 9:48 into the second with Mike Blunden off for interference.
Christian Ehrhoff drove a one-timer from the right point which Vanek tipped into the top left corner at 10:25 on the ensuing two-man advantage.
Vanek made it a two-goal lead late in the middle period. He scored his team-leading 16th goal at 19:21 when he cut across the goalmouth to put away Tyler Ennis' pass.
Vanek left midway through the second period of Tuesday night's game in Montreal after he was struck on the hip by Ehrhoff's point shot.
Ryder drew the Canadiens within one with his 10th goal 8:17 into the third when he redirected Andrei Markov's shot from the left point past Miller.
NOTES: As part of Hockey Night in Canada's 60th anniversary, longtime broadcasters Dick Irvin, Bob Cole, Gilles Tremblay and Claude Quenneville each dropped a puck for a pre-game ceremonial faceoff. ... Sabres right winger Drew Stafford was a healthy scratch. Stafford, who is pointless in his last three games, has three goals in his past 13 games. He has four goals and seven assists in 31 games this season. ... The Canadiens claimed veteran Jeff Halpern off waivers from the New York Rangers earlier Saturday. The 36-year-old center had one assist in 30 games with New York this season. He has 146 goals and 359 points in 891 NHL games, including 11 goals and 26 points in 72 games with Montreal in 2010-11.