Game Recap

Sabres 3, Canadiens 2, SO

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Sabres 3, Canadiens 2, SO
Buffalo Sabres 3, Montréal Canadiens 2

MONTREAL (AP) -Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff might have been the only person not surprised by Tomas Vanek's surprising choice on a shootout attempt.

Vanek drove a slap shot past goalie Cristobal Huet on Buffalo's second shot in the shootout to lead the Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Alex Kovalev beat Ryan Miller with a backhand on Montreal's first shot and Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere put a shot through Huet's pads to even it.

Miller made a pad save to deny Canadiens captain Saku Koivu's backhand attempt, and Vanek stunned the sellout crowd when he wound up and fired a slap shot over Huet's right arm into the top left corner.

"With Tomas, there's nothing that surprises me," Ruff said. "I thought he might have faked it, but I've seen other guys in the league do it, and I think the odd time it catches the goalie a little bit off guard. It was a terrific shot, and in the right spot."

Huet, who made 31 saves in regulation and overtime, acknowledged that Vanek's choice was surprising even though he noted that other players have recently scored off slap shots in the same situation.

"He's a very skilled guy and I wasn't expecting that," Huet said. "I think he wanted me to go down, but he let it go."

Miller, who also turned aside 31 shots, stopped Sergei Samsonov to give Buffalo its fourth win in six games.

"It's important to get the first shot, and if you don't get it, you just move forward," said Miller, who never watches his teammates' shootout attempts.

Jiri Novotny and Derek Roy scored in regulation for the Sabres, who have won six of nine despite a 3-1 loss in Florida on Thursday.

"From a structure standpoint, our game was so much better than it was the other night," Ruff said.

Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray scored his team-leading 11th goal 2:52 into the third to tie it at 2. Souray, who assisted on Montreal's other goal, left the game with an apparent right arm injury before the midway mark of the period and didn't return.

Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau was unsure of the extent of Souray's undisclosed upper body injury and said he would be re-evaluated Sunday.

"Hopefully, (Sunday) will just be a treatment day for him and he'll come back on Tuesday, but if not, somebody else will replace him," Carbonneau said.

Michael Ryder scored his eighth goal on a power play midway through the second for the Canadiens, who got both goals in regulation with the man advantage, tying the game each time.

Montreal went 2-for-4 with the man advantage and successfully killed each of Buffalo's five power plays. The Sabres have scored just three times in 41 chances.

"They won the special-teams battle. You've got to give them a lot of credit for that," Ruff said. "Their penalty killing has been very good, their power play, with Souray shooting the puck, has been very dangerous, so I like the way that team's playing. They're a tough team to play against and you can see why they've won as many games as they have. They're on top of a lot of parts of their game."

Miller denied a Canadiens' short-handed chance early in the second when he stopped Koivu, who chose to shoot on a 2-on-1 with Steve Begin.

Novotny opened the scoring with his sixth goal 6:12 into the second.

Ryder tied it at 9:11 when he jumped on a loose puck and beat Miller from after Souray's slap shot from the point struck Koivu in front of the net.

Roy restored the Sabres' one-goal lead with his fifth of the season at 17:45.

Notes: The Sabres announced that D Teppo Numminen has a broken right toe. The 18-year veteran was injured Thursday during a loss in Florida. D Andrej Sekera was called up from Rochester of the AHL to replace Numminen in the lineup. He made his NHL debut. ... The Canadiens have sold out 74 consecutive regular-season games. ... D Janne Niinimaa and LW Garth Murray didn't dress for Montreal.

scoring summary
1st Period
2nd Period
Jiri Novotny (6) ASST: Maxim Afinogenov (21)
1 - 0 BUF
PPG - Michael Ryder (8) ASST: Saku Koivu (18), Sheldon Souray (13)
1 - 1 Tie
Derek Roy (5) ASST: Thomas Vanek (17), Nathan Paetsch (6)
2 - 1 BUF
3rd Period
PPG - Sheldon Souray (11) ASST: Tomas Plekanec (5), Mark Streit (9)
2 - 2 Tie
OT Period
1A. KovalevD. Briere
2S. KoivuT. Vanek
3S. Samsonov
Power Play Stats
Power Plays0/52/4
Power Play %20.6%24.4%
% on Road16.7%22.6%
% at Home22.7%25.5%
League Rank9th3rd
penalty summary
1st Period
Mathieu Dandenault  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
Adam Mair  Hi-sticking against  Steve Begin
Adam Mair  Hi-sticking against  Steve Begin
Mike Komisarek  Hooking against  Chris Drury
2nd Period
Mike Komisarek  Holding against  Paul Gaustad
Craig Rivet  Roughing against  Daniel Briere
Daniel Briere  Diving against  Craig Rivet
Maxim Afinogenov  Hooking against  Mike Johnson
Michael Ryder  Hooking against  Jochen Hecht
3rd Period
Andrej Sekera  Hooking against  Radek Bonk
Craig Rivet  Cross checking against  Daniel Briere
OT Period
goalie stats
Ryan Miller
SA: 33TOI: 64:58
Saves: 31EV: 24 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 5
SV%: .939SH: 4 - 4
Cristobal Huet
SA: 33TOI: 65:00
Saves: 31EV: 24 - 26
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 7
SV%: .939SH: 0 - 0