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Canadiens eye division lead in clash with Sabres on TSN

The Sports Network

2/15/2011 3:20:38 PM

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens hope to move into the top spot in the Northeast Division tonight, when they welcome the Buffalo Sabres for tonight's clash at the Bell Centre.

Viewers in the Canadiens region can watch the game live on TSN at 7:30pm et.

Canadiens defenceman Jaroslav Spacek is doubtful for tonight's game and Brendon Nash has been called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.

For the Sabres, Jhonas Enroth has been called up from the Portland Pirates and will get the start in net.

With 68 points, Montreal enters today's action just one point behind Boston for the division lead. The Bruins have lost two straight and are also playing this evening against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

Montreal recently snapped a three-game losing streak with Saturday's shutout win over the Maple Leafs. Prior to the victory over Toronto, the Canadiens had picked up a point in Thursday's shootout loss against the New York Islanders.

Tonight marks the end of a three-game homestand for the Habs, who are 19-7-5 as the host club this season. Following this evening's tilt, the Canadiens will head out on a three-game tour of western Canada. The swing begins with Thursday's stop in Edmonton.

The Canadiens defeated the visiting Maple Leafs by a 3-0 score on Saturday. Carey Price made 27 saves to record his sixth shutout of the season in the home win for the Habs.

Price, who allowed a career-high eight goals in an 8-6 loss at Boston on Wednesday, tied Detroit's Jimmy Howard for the NHL lead with his 27th win of the season. Howard has since pulled one victory ahead of Price.

"I thought we played an excellent game. Solid the whole way through," Price noted. "That was probably the best 60 minutes we played. The two points tonight are most important. The shutout was just icing on the cake."

Brian Gionta, David Desharnais and Benoit Pouliot tallied for the Canadiens.

Montreal forwards Mathieu Darche and Max Pacioretty and defenseman Hal Gill are questionable for tonight's game. Darche (lower body) and Gill (upper body) have sat out the last two games, while Pacioretty suffered an upper-body injury in Saturday's contest.

The Sabres, who are 10 points behind the Canadiens in the Northeast standings and just four points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, recently had a three-game winning streak halted by the visiting New York Islanders. Buffalo still enters tonight riding a four-game point streak after Sunday's wild overtime loss to the Isles.

The Islanders notched a 7-6 win in Buffalo, as Michael Grabner scored with 2:05 left in overtime to complete his hat trick in dramatic fashion.

Drew Stafford also registered a hat trick for Buffalo. Nathan Gerbe, Jochen Hecht and Tyler Myers each had a goal apiece in defeat.

"We made some bad decisions with the puck that led to some pretty good opportunities," Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff said. "There were some tough goals that went in both ways. We weren't as good with the puck as we have been."

Ryan Miller, starting his 31st consecutive game between the pipes, yielded all seven goals on 26 shots to take the loss. It marked the first time Miller had allowed seven goals since a 7-4 setback against Boston on Nov. 19, 2008.

"You're going to have bad games, you're going to have games that just don't go your way, and you're going to have games where you can't do anything right but somehow you still win," Miller told his team's official website on Monday. "I'm just going to shake it off and be a veteran player."

Miller will likely get a rare rest tonight as the Sabres are expected to give Jhonas Enroth just his sixth start of the season. The 22-year-old Enroth is 2-2-1 with a 2.89 goals-against average this year.

The Sabres are hoping to get defenseman Steve Montador back tonight after he missed the last three games with a concussion. Montador practiced with the team on Monday and is questionable for tonight's tilt.

Montreal has won three out of four against the Sabres this season, but Buffalo recorded an overtime victory when the clubs last met on Jan. 18 in western New York. The Canadiens have taken four of five overall in the series and the Sabres have dropped two straight and five of eight in Montreal.