|BUF||0||1||1||0||1 (4 - 10)||3|
|MTL||1||1||0||0||0 (3 - 10)||2|
MONTREAL (AP) -- Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is eager to return to the ice following his worst performance of the season.
Montreal's Carey Price can certainly relate, experiencing a similar humbling experience last week before bouncing back with one of his best outings.
Miller, who could be making his 32nd consecutive start, and the Sabres look to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time in more than seven weeks Tuesday night when they visit the Canadiens.
Miller has been instrumental to Buffalo's playoff push, as the Sabres (26-22-6) have gone 12-4-2 in their past 18 to move within four points of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, however, looked rather shaky in Sunday's 7-6 overtime loss to the New York Islanders.
Miller stopped just 19 shots and allowed all seven goals, matching a career high. He was 7-1-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average in his previous nine games, a stretch that started with a 29-save effort in a 2-1 overtime win over Montreal (31-20-6) on Jan. 18.
"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 said Monday.
"I'm just going to shake it off and be a veteran player. It's a frustrating loss but looking back on the stretch of games, we've done what we had to do as a team to get ourselves into a positive situation and we can't let last night turn into a negative."
Price likely knows how Miller is feeling.
He allowed a career-high eight goals and fought with fellow All-Star goalie Tim Thomas in Wednesday' 8-6 loss at Boston. Price quickly put that dreadful performance behind him and made 27 saves in Saturday's 3-0 win over Toronto for his sixth shutout of the season.
"I thought we played an excellent game," said Price, tied for the most games played by a goalie with 50. "We played solid for the whole game. That was probably the best 60 minutes we've played."
Price and the rest of his teammates will have to pay close attention to Buffalo right wing Drew Stafford, who has been on a goal-scoring surge.
Stafford recorded his second hat trick in three games Sunday and has eight goals in the last four for the Sabres, who haven't lost two in a row since Dec. 23-27. He doesn't have a goal in four games against the Canadiens this season but has only 26 minutes of ice time, having missed one contest with an injury and leaving two others for the same reason.
Price posted a 1.33 GAA in winning Montreal's first three games of the season against the Sabres. He stopped 37 shots in last month's meeting before allowing Jason Pominville to beat him 1:09 into the extra period.
Just minutes into that game, Montreal's Michael Cammalleri was crosschecked to the back of the neck by Sabres defenseman Mike Weber. Cammalleri, tied for second on the team with 31 points, left with a separated shoulder and hasn't played since.