Pouliot scores twice, Canadiens beat Sabres

Benoit Pouliot scored twice, and Jeff Halpern had a goal and two assists in the Montreal Canadiens' 3-2 victory over the slumping Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.

Carey Price, who has started all but one of Montreal's 13 games this season, made 29 saves to help the Canadiens improve to 8-4-1 and snap a two-game losing streak.

Montreal was without scoring leader Tomas Plekanec, who was scratched because of flulike symptoms.

Mike Grier had a goal and assist, Jordan Leopold also scored, and backup goalie Patrick Lalime, playing in place of injured starter Ryan Miller, made 29 saves for the Sabres, 0-6-1 at home and 3-9-2 overall.

Miller wasn't in uniform for the second straight game because of a lower-body injury, and also will sit out Saturday night when the Sabres play at Toronto.

Grier opened the scoring with his first goal of the season with 2:42 left in the first period. Off an odd-man rush, Grier accepted a pass from Tyler Ennis in the lower portion of the right circle, pulled the puck to his backhand, and slid it past Price.

The Canadiens tied it 1:22 later when Halpern snapped in a shot from the slot.

Buffalo regained the lead 9:02 into the second when Leopold swatted home a loose puck during a scramble in front, but Pouliot tied it at 2 just 46 seconds later when he pushed the puck in on the backhand from in tight.

Pouliot gave Montreal its first lead with 2:48 left in the second when he let go a wicked slap shot from the left circle that went in on the short side.

NOTES: Buffalo RW Drew Stafford missed most of the second period and all of the third after sustaining an upper-body injury. ... The last time the Sabres started a season without a win in their first seven games at home was in 1993-94. ... Sabres coach Lindy Ruff coached his 998th NHL game. ... Montreal LW Mathieu Darche had a pair of assists. ... Buffalo's Jochen Hecht and Rob Niedermayer are the only two Sabres forwards who have played at least 13 games without scoring a goal. ... Plekanec ranks second on Montreal with five goals. ... The Canadiens will play six of their next seven at home, where they have a 3-2-1 mark.