Paul Gaustad scored in the third period as the Buffalo Sabres downed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 despite a 38-save performance from Carey Price on Tuesday night.
Ville Leino, with his first goal since Dec. 7, and Patrick Kaleta, with an empty-net goal, also scored for Buffalo (21-24-5), which has won two in a row since ending a five-game losing streak. The Sabres are 3-0-0 against Montreal this season.
Max Pacioretty had the lone goal for Montreal (19-22-9), which had won its previous two games.
With the win, Ryan Miller tied Dominik Hasek for the Sabres’ all-time record for goaltender victories with 234. Miller made 27 saves.
The hungrier, harder-working Sabres outshot the Canadiens 40-28 and pulled even with Montreal on 47 points, but both remain well out of playoff position in the NHL Eastern Conference.
Price, back from his all-star game appearance in Ottawa, did his best to steal a win, but soft play by his team in its zone proved too much.
And the Sabres did it mostly without first-line forward Thomas Vanek, who left the game after the first period with what the team called an upper body injury.
Pacioretty chipped the puck past Matt Ellis at the red-line and went in alone to score on his own rebound 4:09 into the game. It was the Montreal winger’s career-high 18th goal of the season.
The Sabres poured 18 shots on Price in the middle period but managed only a rare goal from off-season signing Leino, who put a sweet drag move on defenceman Rafael Diaz on a counterattack and beat Price with a wrist shot from close range. It was his fourth goal of the season.
Gaustad, back after missing three games with an upper body injury, hung tough against Hal Gill at the Montreal crease and got his stick on Brad Boyes pass 6:17 into the third.
Notes: Miller has played 430 games for the Sabres, while Hasek set the team record after 491 games. . . Tyler Ennis returned for Buffalo after missing 17 games with an ankle injury. Marc-Andre Gragnani, T.J. Brennan and Luke Adam sat out. . . Montreal scratched Chris Campoli, while Travis Moen missed with an upper body. Andreas Engqvist played after being called up from AHL Hamilton.
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