BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The current version of the Montreal Canadiens are accomplishing something not even Scotty Bowman's great teams of the 1970s ever achieved.
Niklas Sundstrom deflected Steve Begin's shot from the right point with just under three minutes remaining to lift the Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
The victory gave Montreal a league-best 6-0-1 record on the road, and its best start away from home since the franchise was established in 1909.
``I don't know if we play any type of different hockey on the road. All I know is that we're playing pretty good right now,'' Sundstrom said. ``Normally it's a little tougher to get road wins, but so far this year we've been doing it.''
Alexander Perezhogin and Michael Ryder also scored for the Canadiens, who won their third straight.
It was the second consecutive come-from-behind win for the Canadiens, who put away Florida in overtime on Tuesday. Montreal didn't need an extra session against the Sabres, but the dramatics were as impressive.
Down 2-1 heading into the third period, Montreal began driving to the net and forcing the play. The effort was rewarded when Ryder tied it five minutes in with his team-leading seventh goal. Ryder picked up a loose puck behind the Buffalo net and skated out to the front, wristing a shot through goalie Martin Biron's legs.
Sundstrom then notched the winner thanks to linemate Begin, who sent the game against the Panthers to overtime with a goal in the waning seconds.
``We have to figure out that we're not always going to win in the third period,'' said Begin, who has five points in three games. ``But at the same time, we've showed a lot of character and we want to win.''
The Canadiens jumped over idle Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead, with Montreal winning 10 of its first 14 games. The quick start, however, hasn't surprised Sundstrom.
``We've known for the whole year we're a good team,'' he said. ``We all believe in ourselves. We just have to keep this thing going and try to get some more wins on the board.''
After an electric start in which they won six of eight, the Sabres are in desperate need to get some wins after losing for the fourth time in five games.
``We played 40 real strong minutes then didn't show a lot of composure in the third,'' Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. ``We didn't handle the pressure very well.''
Rory Fitzpatrick and Adam Mair scored for the Sabres, who lost for the third straight time at home.
Fitzpatrick opened the scoring just under three minutes in, putting a slap shot from the middle of the blue line past goalie Yann Danis on the power play. It was Fitzpatrick's third goal, one short of his career high.
Perezhogin tied it midway through the first with his fourth goal. After receiving a pass from Andrei Markov, Perezhogin skated into the high slot and let go a wrist shot that deflected off Sabres forward Derek Roy's stick and past Biron.
Buffalo took a 2-1 lead just 49 seconds into the middle period when Mair converted Ales Kotalik's pass into his first tally of the season.
Danis was making his third appearance of the season and second career start as Jose Theodore was given the night off. Danis finished with 24 saves in earning his second win of the season.
It was also the first Montreal victory in Buffalo since Oct. 2001, breaking a seven-game winless streak.
``We've had a lot of difficulties here in the past, so it's good to get the win and the two points,'' Danis said. ``It's a blast right now. The attitude of this team now is unbelievable.''
Biron made his third start of the season, finishing with 28 saves. He was peppered with 18 shots in the final period.
``When we're up 2-1, you can't give a team like Montreal that many shots,'' Biron said.
Montreal has won eight of 10 one-goal games this season.
Notes: The teams will play again Saturday night in Montreal. ... Sabres No. 1 G Ryan Miller underwent surgery on his broken right thumb Friday and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks. ... Canadiens C Radek Bonk missed his third game after injuring his groin before Monday's win over the New York Rangers. ... Sabres RW Mike Grier missed his first game because of a hip injury sustained Wednesday. ... Roy and Jason Pominville played in their first game after being recalled from Buffalo's AHL affiliate in Rochester on Thursday.
|PPG - Rory Fitzpatrick (3) ASST: Thomas Vanek (9), Maxim Afinogenov (6)|
1 - 0 BUF
|Alexander Perezhogin (4) ASST: Andrei Markov (5), Chris Higgins (2)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Adam Mair (1) ASST: Ales Kotalik (3), Paul Gaustad (4)|
2 - 1 BUF
|Michael Ryder (7) ASST: Mike Ribeiro (6), Francis Bouillon (5)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Niklas Sundstrom (3) ASST: Steve Begin (4), Mathieu Dandenault (2)|
3 - 2 MTL
|Power Play %||0.0%||33.3%|
|% on Road||0.0%||0.0%|
|% at Home||0.0%||33.3%|
|Maxim Afinogenov Holding against Jan Bulis|
|Andrei Markov Hooking|
|Chris Drury Boarding against Alex Kovalev|
|Derek Roy Tripping against Chris Higgins|
|Steve Begin Tripping against Daniel Briere|
|Michael Ryder Hooking|
|Thomas Vanek Hooking against Craig Rivet|
|Martin Biron Delaying Game-Ill. play goalie|
|Mathieu Dandenault Hooking against Ales Kotalik|
|Jochen Hecht Cross checking against Saku Koivu|
|Jan Bulis Hooking against Derek Roy|
|J-P Dumont Too many men/ice - bench|
|Daniel Briere Hooking against Alex Kovalev|
|Alex Kovalev Hooking against Daniel Briere|