Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Habs Avoid Letdown, Blank Sabres

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[March 26, 2014]  MONTREAL  The Montreal Canadiens are shoring up their playoff position by racking up wins against Atlantic Division opponents.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price made 24 saves for his fifth shutout, and left winger Max Pacioretty scored his 100th regular season goal 10:53 into the third period to send the Canadiens to a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

Price stopped Buffalo center Cody Hodgson's short-handed backhand shot at 16:41 of the third to protect his 24th career shutout, which moved him past Jose Theodore into seventh place on Montreal's all-time list.

Canadiens center Daniel Briere made it a two-goal lead with his 13th goal at 16:54 of the third.

Montreal won its third in a row, all against Atlantic Division opponents, including a 2-1 shootout win in Boston on Monday night that ended the Bruins' 12-game winning streak two days after beating the Toronto Maple Leafs.


"You win in Toronto, and then it's an emotional game in Boston, and that was able to carry us through, but tonight was kind of the forgotten game," Briere said. "Nobody really talked about it, the last-place team, and it seemed like the easy game of the bunch, but actually it was really tough to come back out, to try to get emotional after such a high (Wednesday), and that's why it took us a little longer to get going."

The Canadiens moved into second place in the division with 89 points, two ahead of Tampa Bay. The Canadiens have eight games remaining, two less than the Lightning.

"This is a very important time for us," Price said. "Obviously, everybody's trying to make the playoffs and to be able to pick up points against divisional teams and play well, it's definitely a confidence builder."

Montreal right winger Thomas Vanek got his first point against his former team when Pacioretty tipped home the former Sabres sniper's feed for his team-leading 32nd goal.

Goalie Matt Hackett stopped 33 shots in his second start in three games for Buffalo, which has one win in its last 10 games (1-9-0).

"It's tough right now," Hackett said. "We're in last place so we're just playing to prove some stuff. We come out here and work every night and we want that to be our identity, just to compete and put forth a good effort, that's all we can do."

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Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers left the game briefly 6:15 into the third after crashing into the Canadiens' net. Myers, who returned after missing five games because of an arm injury, hit the left goalpost with his left side after he lost his edge on Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin's stick while driving to the net.

"(Myers) made a great effort to get back here and he's a little bit banged up, but hopefully a couple of days rest will get him ready for Nashville," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said.

NOTES: Canadiens D Jarred Tinordi returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous two games. ... Montreal D Francis Bouillon sat out to make room for Tinordi and RW George Parros was also a healthy scratch. ... The Canadiens were also without RW Dale Weise and LW Travis Moen, both of whom were injured in a game against the Boston Bruins on Monday night, and LW Brandon Prust (upper body) and D Josh Gorges (hand). ... Buffalo G Matt Hackett, nephew of former Canadiens G Jeff Hackett, made his first career appearance against Montreal. ... Hackett became the fourth Sabres netminder to see action against the Canadiens in four meetings this season, after G Ryan Miller, G Jhonas Enroth and G Nathan Lieuwen.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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