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NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Buffalo

(Wednesday, March 24th)

Final Score: Buffalo 2, Montreal 1

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Adam Mair's second-period goal was the difference as the Buffalo Sabres skated past the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, at HSBC Arena.

J.P. Dumont also tallied for the Sabres, who kept their slim playoff hopes alive with their third win in four games. Buffalo now trails the idle New York Islanders by six points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with six games left to play.

Montreal needed just one point coming into the game to clinch a playoff spot in the East. Now it will have to wait at least one more day, as the Canadiens return home to faceoff against Ottawa on Thursday.

Michael Ryder scored the lone Montreal goal as the Canadiens saw their losing streak in Buffalo extended to seven games. The Canadiens, 11-2-1-1 in their last 15 contests overall, haven't won at HSBC since October 26, 2001.

"They have built a reputation of playing tough at home," said Montreal head coach Claude Julien. "We've lost quite a few games here over the years."

Martin Biron stopped 24-of-25 shots for the win, while Mathieu Garon allowed two goals on 33 shots at the other end.

"It's a game where you have to make some big saves," Biron said. "Right now we have to do whatever we need to do to get into the playoffs."

After the teams combined for 17 shots in a scoreless first period, Dumont scored the game's first goal 6:07 into the second stanza. Daniel Briere skated into the Montreal zone and drew both defenders toward him before dishing the puck off to Dumont at his left. Dumont beat Garon high to the stick side for his 20th of the season.

The goal came about four minutes after Dumont prevented himself from scoring. He was parked at the right post with an easy tap-in chance and the puck was rolling in even though he didn't get all of it. Dumont tried again to push it forward but actually knocked it away from the net.

Still, Buffalo was able to jump out to a 2-0 lead on Mair's tally just before the midway point of the second. Mair blocked Jeff Jillson's point shot down to his feet before firing a quick turnaround shot behind Garon for his eighth marker of the campaign.

Biron made 20 saves before Montreal finally got one behind him with 5:22 to play. Ryder picked up the puck just inside the Buffalo blue line and skated down the left side. He then unleashed a backhand over the glove of Biron for his 24th tally of the year.

Montreal mustered just four shots the rest of the way, and Biron was there to block them all for the victory.

Game Notes

The Canadiens lost their first game in regulation since March 3 against San Jose...Ryder became the first Canadiens' rookie to reach 60 points since Kjell Dahlin in 1985-86. Their All-Star defenseman, Sheldon Souray, left the game after the first period and did not return, apparently after getting hit from behind by Andrew Peters...Montreal failed to earn a point for the first time in nine games (6-1-1-1).

03/25 00:20:18 ET

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