Considering the trajectory of their season, the Buffalo Sabres probably present Carey Price with the best opportunity to extend his stretch of dominance.
The worst team in hockey, however, has earned some of its best results against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Sabres conclude a five-game road trip Tuesday night looking to end a pair of franchise-worst losing streaks and complete this season series unbeaten in regulation.
Price posted back-to-back 1-0 wins before getting the day off in Sunday's 3-2 home loss to Arizona.
Alex Galchenyuk scored twice in the first period but the Canadiens (32-14-3) were unable to hold the two-goal lead and leap Tampa Bay for first place in the Atlantic. Montreal's total of 67 points is tied with Detroit's and one fewer than the Lightning's. Galchenyuk has five goals in six games.
The loss was preceded by the shutouts of Washington on Saturday and the New York Rangers on Thursday, with Max Pacioretty scoring in each. The Canadiens' top scorer has 11 goals and nine assists in the team's 15-4-1 span.
Price totaled 60 saves in the two games to extend his winning streak to five with a 0.98 goals-against average. He's gone 13-2-1 with a 1.43 GAA in his last 16 starts.
"You get goose bumps when you're stepping out of the tunnel because you want to step up for him," Pacioretty said after Price's latest outing. "It sounds cheesy, but he really is the backbone of this team."
Price beat the Sabres three times last season and also suffered a 2-1 loss in Buffalo on Nov. 28, posting a 1.26 GAA in those games.
The Sabres (14-33-3) conclude a five-game trip that's extended their team-record skids to 14 overall and on the road. The overall streak has come entirely in regulation and is the longest in the NHL since San Jose dropped 17 straight Jan. 4-Feb. 12, 1993.
The road skid includes one overtime defeat and is tied with Edmonton's from Nov. 11-Jan. 15 for the worst this season. Another defeat would give Buffalo the longest road losing streak since Chicago dropped 19 in a row Nov. 10, 2003-Jan. 29, 2004.
The Sabres fell 5-2 to Vancouver on Friday and have been outscored 61-21 during the overall skid.
"When things go bad, things go bad," coach Ted Nolan said. "Every time we make a mistake it seems to be in our net. When things are like that, that's what usually happens."
Chris Stewart scored both Buffalo goals, giving him four in as many games.
Nolan made Cody Hodgson a healthy scratch, saying Hodgson would return to the lineup in Montreal, hopefully with the entire team having received the warning.
"We have to get messages across to some people. You try different ways to get it across," Nolan told the team's official website. "Cody's one of those that, you know, he has some skill and some ability to put the puck in the net."
Buffalo's last road win came Nov. 29 against Montreal, 4-3 in a shootout to complete a home-and-home sweep and push its edge in the season series to 2-0-1.
Buffalo's Jhonas Enroth has earned both wins over the Canadiens. Enroth has gone 5-2-0 with a 2.19 GAA as a starter against Montreal, but he's 0-8-0 with a 4.47 GAA in his last nine games this season.
Matt Hackett made his first start of the season against the Canucks and allowed four goals on 37 shots.