Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Buffalo
Sabres
39-31-12
Montréal
Canadiens
47-25-10

game recap

Canadiens 3, Sabres 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Associated Press

Share with your Friends


Canadiens 3, Sabres 1
Buffalo Sabres 1, Montréal Canadiens 3

MONTREAL (AP) -Bryan Smolinski and the Montreal Canadiens knew the Buffalo Sabres were fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive and used that to their advantage.

Smolinski scored twice, Carey Price came within 8:30 of posting his second straight shutout, and Montreal beat Buffalo 3-1 on Thursday night, eliminating the Sabres from the playoff race.

Chris Higgins opened the scoring with a power-play goal midway through the first and Smolinski added two more goals to give the Canadiens a 3-0 lead.

"They had to go for it and I think they played a little cautious at first and, I won't say they played into our hands but getting the first one was huge," Smolinski said. "It kind of deflated them a little."

Montreal is tied with Pittsburgh atop the Eastern Conference with 102 points. Both teams have one game left but the Canadiens need to finish at least a point ahead of the Penguins to win the conference because Pittsburgh has 47 wins, one more than Montreal.

The Canadiens host Toronto on Saturday night. The Penguins complete their season Sunday in Philadelphia.

"We've got one more game and then we can regroup and get ready," Price said. "One last game to get everything into gear before we hit the crucial time of the year."

Ales Kotalik scored his 23rd goal 11:30 into the third after Sabres coach Lindy Ruff pulled goalie Ryan Miller during a 4-on-3 advantage to give Buffalo two extra skaters.

"We gambled hard to get back in it and we just didn't quite get it done," Ruff said.

The Sabres, who won the President's Trophy last year and went to the conference final each of the last two seasons, needed at least one point to keep slim playoff hopes alive.

"They got the first break and we had to play catch-up," said Miller, who stopped 22 shots.

Buffalo, which has 88 points, completes its schedule Saturday in Boston and is assured of finishing 10th overall in the East.

"You could see their faces after the game," Higgins said. "Obviously, they weren't too thrilled."

Named the NHL's rookie-of-the-month for March, Price made 27 saves and improved his record to 23-12-3 in 40 games. The 20-year-old goalie stopped 32 shots Tuesday as the Canadiens clinched their first division title in 16 years with a 3-0 win in Ottawa.

Montreal struck quickly midway through the first, scoring two goals in 40 seconds to take a 2-0 lead.

Higgins opened the scoring on a power play 11:28 in when he beat Miller for his 25th goal.

The soldout Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 was still celebrating the Canadiens' opening goal when Smolinski made it a two-goal lead with his seventh of the season at 12:08.

The 36-year-old veteran scored his second of the game - his eighth overall in 63 games - 14:28 into the second to increase Montreal's lead to three.

scoring summary
1st Period
11:28
MTL
PPG - Chris Higgins (25) ASST: Mark Streit (48), Roman Hamrlik (21)
1 - 0 MTL
12:08
MTL
Bryan Smolinski (7) ASST: Steve Begin (5), Ryan O'Byrne (5)
2 - 0 MTL
2nd Period
14:28
MTL
Bryan Smolinski (8) ASST: NONE
3 - 0 MTL
3rd Period
11:30
BUF
PPG - Ales Kotalik (23) ASST: Derek Roy (47), Jaroslav Spacek (23)
3 - 1 MTL
penalty summary
1st Period
02:31
MTL
Matt D'Agostini  Tripping against  Derek Roy
10:03
BUF
Ales Kotalik  Hooking against  Maxim Lapierre
16:13
MTL
Mark Streit  Holding against  Derek Roy
2nd Period
11:45
BUF
Jochen Hecht  Roughing against  Tomas Plekanec
19:01
BUF
Adam Mair  Tripping against  Andrei Markov
3rd Period
05:28
MTL
Sergei Kostitsyn  Tripping against  Derek Roy
07:49
BUF
Patrick Kaleta  Diving against  Maxim Lapierre
07:49
MTL
Maxim Lapierre  Slashing against  Patrick Kaleta
09:54
MTL
Andrei Kostitsyn  Interference against  Jaroslav Spacek
10:45
BUF
Drew Stafford  Hooking against  Chris Higgins
11:21
MTL
Patrice Brisebois  Tripping against  Derek Roy
18:42
BUF
Andrej Sekera  Tripping against  Andrei Kostitsyn
19:18
BUF
Paul Gaustad  Roughing against  Alex Kovalev
19:18
MTL
Alex Kovalev  Roughing against  Paul Gaustad
goalie stats
Ryan Miller
SA: 25TOI: 58:06
Saves: 22EV: 18 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .880SH: 2 - 2
Carey Price
SA: 28TOI: 60:00
Saves: 27EV: 19 - 19
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .964SH: 3 - 3