Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 1:34 AM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price
has looked shaky between the pipes in his first two attempts for his 100th career victory.
He has been solid lately against the Buffalo Sabres, but that hasn't led to many wins.
Price tries to bounce back from another subpar performance and help the Canadiens avoid their worst start in a dozen years Tuesday night against the Sabres.
Price, who has started each of the first four games for the Canadiens (1-2-1), played well in his first two outings by stopping 46 of 49 shots. He earned his 99th win with a 30-save performance in a 5-1 victory over Winnipeg on Oct. 9 but hasn't enjoyed much success since.
After stopping 17 shots in Thursday's 4-1 defeat to Calgary, the two-time All-Star made 25 saves in Saturday's 6-5 shootout loss to Colorado.
"I wish I would have played better but at least we got a point out of it," said Price, who is trying to become the 12th goalie in franchise history to notch 100 victories. "We can move forward with that, I guess."
If the Canadiens fail to get the full two points against the Sabres, however, they'll open with four losses in five games for the first time since 1999-2000.
Montreal lost the final three meetings of last season's series with Buffalo, despite Price's best efforts.
Price recorded a 1.62 goals-against average in those three games but was only backed by three goals. The Canadiens supported him with eight goals in winning the first three meetings, as he posted a 1.33 GAA. He is 4-2-3 with a 1.41 GAA in nine starts in the series since 2009-10.
Ryan Miller is expected to be back in goal for the Sabres after getting the night off in Saturday' 3-2 win over Pittsburgh. He went 2-2-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a shutout against the Canadiens last season.
The Sabres (3-1-0) opened a four-game road trip with a win over a Penguins team playing without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Nathan Gerbe and Luke Adam each had a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which had lost six straight to Pittsburgh.
"We wanted to win this game bad," coach Lindy Ruff said. "You get an opportunity to play a team without a couple of their star players, you've got to start taking advantage of it."
While it's not quite the same as facing a Penguins team without a pair of MVPs, the Sabres now take on a Canadiens squad that is expected to be without forward Michael Cammalleri
(lacerated leg) and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek
and Tomas Plekanec
lead Montreal with two goals and two assists apiece. Captain Brian Gionta
recorded his first points of the season Saturday with a goal and two assists, and he had two goals and an assist against the Sabres in 2010-11.
Gerbe and Jason Pominville each had two goals and an assist versus the Canadiens last season.