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Sabres continue playoff chase versus Canadiens

The Buffalo Sabres will try to boost their playoff chances when they host the Montreal Canadiens in tonight's Northeast Division clash at First Niagara Center.

The Sabres are currently tied with Winnipeg for the ninth seed in the East and are four points behind Washington for the conference's eighth and final postseason berth.

Buffalo has earned 18 of a possible 24 points over its last 12 contests, going 8-2-2 over that stretch. The Sabres have a 2-2 record in their last four games and are coming off Saturday's shootout victory in Ottawa.

Tyler Ennis scored in the third round of the shootout to lift Buffalo to the 4-3 decision over the Senators. Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Nathan Gerbe all scored in regulation for the Sabres, while Ryan Miller made 33 saves for Buffalo. Miller is 8-1-1 in his last 10 games with a 1.76 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage.

Foligno recorded the first goal of his NHL career after being recalled from Rochester of the AHL on an emergency basis. His tally deflected off Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson before beating Ben Bishop and tied the game at 3-3 with 5:54 left in the third.

"It was just one of those where it was better timing than anything," said Foligno. "Hard work paid off there and I got a lucky bounce. I was really happy to tie the game up for the guys. I just really wanted to contribute tonight. I was hoping I'd score tonight. When you contribute like that it���s huge."

Buffalo was without forward Thomas Vanek (upper body) and defenseman Andrej Sekera (flu-like symptoms). Sekera could play tonight, but Vanek, who is second on the Sabres with 23 goals, is expected to sit out this evening.

Sabres forwards Matt Ellis (lower body) and Patrick Kaleta (neck) were also injured in Saturday's game and are not expected to play tonight.

Tonight's tilt marks the first of two straight on home ice for the Sabres, who are 17-11-7 as the host and have won four in a row in western New York.

The Canadiens have won two straight and three of their last five games, but they are running out of time to make a push for the postseason. Montreal is currently last in the East with 64 points and is 12 points out of a playoff spot.

Montreal improved to 2-1 on a four-game road trip with Saturday's impressive 4-1 victory in Vancouver. Erik Cole scored two goals, including the go-ahead tally early in the third period to lift the Habs to the victory over the defending Western Conference champions at Rogers Arena.

Blake Geoffrion and P.K. Subban scored while Max Pacioretty added two assists for the Canadiens. Pacioretty, who leads Montreal with 30 goals and 56 points this season, has five markers and five assists during a five-game point streak.

Carey Price made 32 saves to help the Canadiens improve their road record to 15-17-2.

Montreal welcomed defenseman Andrei Markov back to the lineup on Saturday, as the veteran played in his first game in over a year. Markov, who signed a three-year, $17.5 million deal with Montreal over the summer, had not played since November 13, 2010 due to various knee surgeries.

Markov, a two-time All-Star, recorded an assist in over 17 minutes of ice time.

"I didn't play for almost two years. I missed the game and I just wanted to play and feel my conditioning and how my knee would react," Markov told his team's official website. "I'm just happy to be here right now and I'm going to take it one game at a time."

Buffalo won its first three encounters against the Habs this season, but Montreal posted a 4-3 shootout win when the clubs met at First Niagara Center on Feb. 17. That ended a six-game series slide for the Canadiens, but the Sabres have still won 10 of the last 15 meetings. The clubs have split the last six encounters in Buffalo.

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