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Saturday, March 31st (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (50-20-7) at Montreal Canadiens (40-32-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will attempt to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference tonight, when they visit the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

The Sabres have 107 points on the year and a victory this evening would allow them to secure the No. 1 position in the East playoffs. Buffalo also heads into Saturday's action with a one-point lead over Detroit for the NHL lead.

Buffalo is coming off back-to-back home wins, as it defeated New Jersey on Wednesday before downing the New York Islanders on Friday.

On Friday, Chris Drury scored twice and added an assist as the Sabres held off the Islanders, 6-4, at HSBC Arena.

Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and Derek Roy each had a goal and a helper, while Dainius Zubrus also tallied for Buffalo. Jason Pominville had a career-high three assists, and Ryan Miller finished with 25 saves for the Eastern Conference-leading Sabres, who have won four of their last five games.

Miller has 37 wins on the season and is now one victory away from tying Don Edwards for the club mark. Edwards had 38 wins for Buffalo during the 1977-78 campaign.

Tonight's test marks the first of two straight on the road for Buffalo, which is 23-10-4 as the visiting club this year.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens had a five-game winning streak halted on Friday, as they were handed a 5-2 setback in Ottawa. Mike Fisher scored twice and added an assist to lead the Senators to the win at Scotiabank Place.

Sheldon Souray and Mark Streit each scored, and Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves for Montreal.

Despite the loss, the Canadiens (86 points) maintained their hold on the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They are just one point ahead of Toronto and two in front of Carolina and the Islanders.

The Habs are a solid 24-12-3 as the host club this year and have taken seven straight tilts at home. Montreal will cap a brief two-game homestand Tuesday against Boston.

The Sabres have taken four of the seven meetings with Montreal this season and nine of the last 13 encounters overall. Buffalo has also skated away with a victory in 11 of its last 17 trips to Quebec.

03/31 10:52:36 ET


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