The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 22, 2011; 10:10 PM
MONTREAL -- Ryan Miller made 31 saves for his fourth shutout and Nathan Gerbe scored twice to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Miller recorded his 21st career shutout, his first since a 36-save effort in a 3-0 win over San Jose on Jan. 6.
Gerbe scored for the third game in a row in the second period before adding an empty-net goal for Buffalo, which is currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 81 points.
The Sabres remained three points ahead of ninth-place Carolina, which beat Ottawa. Buffalo was unable to gain ground on seventh-place New York as the Rangers shut out Florida 1-0 to retain their three-point lead over the Sabres.
Carey Price stopped 22 shots for Montreal, which had won eight of 11, including an 8-1 victory at Minnesota on Sunday.
The Canadiens, who remain sixth in the East with 87 points, have alternated wins and losses in six games since winning a season-high five in a row from Feb. 26-March 8.
Montreal plays in Boston on Thursday night in the first game between the two Northeast Division rivals since Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and a broken vertebra in his neck on a scary hit by Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Boston moved three points clear of Montreal for the division lead - and third seed overall in the East - with a win over New Jersey.
Miller stuck out his glove to snare Michael Cammalleri's drive 14:31 in as the Canadiens held a 12-8 advantage in shots in the first period.
Montreal had another good scoring chance moments later, but Canadiens captain Brian Gionta redirected the puck over the net on Scott Gomez's centering pass from the left side.
Gerbe scored his 12th goal 8:56 into the second to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead. Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers kept the puck in the Canadiens' zone at the right point and slapped a pass into the slot, where Gerbe redirected it past Price.
He added his second of the game - his 13th - into an empty net 19:38 into the third.
Notes: Gerbe has five points in five games. ... Canadiens Cs Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern have both missed four games in a row because of lower-body injuries.