The Buffalo Sabres snapped a six game losing streak against the Montreal Canadiens, scoring a late winner to squeak past the Habs 2-1 in Buffalo.
Some lineup changes to mention; Eric Tangradi made his Canadiens debut while Tom Gilbert was healthy scratch as Montreal dressed six defensemen.
A well rested Canadiens team started strong but a highlight reel goal by Tyler Ennis put Buffalo up 1-0 less than four minutes into the game. A minute later, Montreal went on their first power play of the game which they could not capitalize on, despite strong pressure. Buffalo would get their chance on the power play after a potentially goal saving slash by Alexei Emelin midway through the period. That was quickly negated by Nikita Zadorov after tripping up Jiri Sekac. The teams traded sporadic chances towards the end of the period, ending with a spirited fight between Brandon Prust and Chris Stewart.
The second period will not be considered as one of the most exciting periods of the year. Both teams traded pretty solid scoring chances during the frame but a ton of game stoppages killed any momentum in the period. Sergei Gonchar took a hooking penalty with just under five minutes left in the second period, which Montreal killed off.
They would get another chance on the man advantage after Prust was given two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a ten minute misconduct. Montreal was the more dangerous of the two, generating a few good shorthanded scoring chances, but they would go into the intermission still trailing 1-0.
Buffalo promptly took a penalty to begin the third period giving Montreal’s anemic power play a chance to tie the game. A head scratcher from Jhonas Enroth led to Montreal’s second away power play goal of the season as P.A. Parenteau tied the game 1-1. The goal sparked Montreal as they dominated the Sabres throughout the first half of the period, the closest call coming off Tomas Plekanec’s and ringing off the crossbar.
With roughly eight minutes to play, both teams ramped up the intensity with some really entertaining end-to-end hockey. Emelin took a late penalty on a hit to Brian Gionta’s head, putting the Sabres on a period-ending power play. Buffalo’s Matt Moulson would score on a tough break for Carey Price and an unlucky bounce off the glass to lead 2-1 with a little over a minute to play, which would hold up as the final score.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – P.A. Parenteau
Scored Montreal’s lone goal and was unfortunate not to get a second as a nice screen shot nicked David Desharnais in front of a beaten Enroth.
1 goals – 0 assist – even rating – 4 shots – 0 hits – 0 takeaways – 14:35 TOI
2nd Star – Tomas Plekanec
While it won’t show on the score sheet, Plekanec had a dangerous game and gave Buffalo fits when they were on the man advantage. He was unlucky to hit the crossbar in the third period.
0 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 3 shots – 0 hits – 0 takeaways – 19:12 TOI
3rd Star – Carey Price
That incident at the end of the game dropped Carey a spot or two here. Not totally his fault, but he’s accountable to some extent. But aside from that, strong outing.
23 saves on 25 shots – .920 save percentage – 2.03 GAA
Eric Tangradi had a pretty solid debut for the Canadiens. He was involved throughout, played his size and didn’t make any glaring errors. Nice depth piece for the Habs.
0 goals – 0 assists – -1 rating – 1 shot – 2 hits – 0 takeaways – 8:54 TOI
Stat of the Night
43 faceoff wins to Buffalo’s 21. Losses like these will happen from time to time, but continued numbers like that at the dot will lead to more wins than losses.