MONTREAL – Alex Kovalev scored twice and Richard Zednik had a goal and an assist, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov each had two assists for Eastern Conference-leading Montreal, which beat Buffalo for the second night in a row.

Jose Theodore, who got a rare night off Friday, made 29 saves, including one with 14.8 seconds remaining that led to a pileup of players from both teams as the Canadiens’ goalie kept the puck from crossing the line.

Montreal improved to 5-3-0 at the Bell Centre, and 11-3-1 overall. The Canadiens’ 6-0-1 road mark following Friday’s 3-2 win in Buffalo is the franchise’s best road start since it began play in 1909, eight years prior to the NHL’s formation.

J.P. Dumont and Paul Gaustaud scored for the Sabres. Maxim Afinogenov assisted on both goals.

Buffalo has lost three straight, and five of six, including a 10-4 drubbing at home against Ottawa on Wednesday night.

Canadiens forward Jan Bulis left the game with a shoulder injury in the first. He did not return.

Kovalev scored his fifth of the season 5:03 in to put Montreal up 1-0. After Dumont scored on a power-play late in the first, Kovalev restored the Canadiens’ lead 7:22 into the second on a power play, beating Martin Biron stick side with a wrist shot for his second of the game.

Zednik made it 3-1 with another power-play effort early in the third, his third goal in five games since returning from a groin injury.

Sabres center Adam Mair and Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet were given fighting majors 5:20 into the third for a short tussle after they dropped their gloves and circled each other near center ice.

Afinogenov got his second assist and helped draw the Sabres within one when Gaustad redirected a shot past Theodore at 11:21.

Koivu was called for roughing as the Canadiens drew an extra penalty on the late pileup.

Notes: Sabres RW Mike Grier returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game with a hip injury. … D Jeff Jillson dressed for Buffalo after being recalled from Rochester of the AHL earlier in the day. RW Jason Pominville, who made his NHL debut Friday, was assigned to Rochester. … The Canadiens have sold out each of their eight home games. … Montreal C Radek Bonk missed his fourth straight game because of a groin injury. … Koivu has a goal and six assists in his last four games.

AP-ES-11-05-05 2139EST


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