MONTREAL -- If a high-scoring contest is typically referred to as a shootout, did Carey Price and Robin Lehner just invent the "save-out"?
Whatever the name, that's what fans at the Bell Centre were treated to on Saturday night -- two goaltenders trading spectacular saves the way heavyweight boxers might trade punches, through regulation and beyond.
After all, a game which featured a combined 76 shots on goal was ultimately decided in OT, by a modest 3-2 scoreline in favor of Buffalo.
Video: BUF@MTL: Price flashes the leather to deny Okposo
"That's the way it goes -- all it takes is one break. They were kind of sitting back on the 3-on-3 and waiting for a turnover or a chance to jump, and that's what they did," explained Max Pacioretty after Zach Bogosian gave the Sabres the win 1:48 into an extra frame which the Habs had largely controlled. "We had them where we wanted them, but they were able to pull through. We've just got to regroup and get ready for Calgary."
But first, let's get back to the goalies.
After taking a 2-1 second-period lead, the Habs were outshot 14-7 in the third, as Cody Franson tied things up at 11:53. Then, Rasmus Ristolainen almost settled things in regulation, if not for an incredible glove save by Price.
Video: BUF@MTL: Price robs Ristolainen with a glove save
"He was awesome. He gave us a huge point, and we'll take it," dished Phillip Danault, who for his part reached double-digit goals in the second with his 10th of the season. "It was a big point for us. We played a full 60 minutes, and it could have easily gone our way, too."
Following the stop, the Bell Centre erupted into chants of "Carey!" as the All-Star netminder received a standing ovation heading into OT.
"That's why we play the game. It's a lot of fun being out there, and to come up with a save [like that]," acknowledged Saturday's second star. "I'm just trying to get over the disappointment of the result. It's never fun losing in overtime, but I'm really pleased with getting three out of four points in the last couple of nights."
In the end, it was Price's counterpart at the other end of the ice who got the night's last save, as Lehner made an equally impressive sprawling stop in OT to rob Alex Galchenyuk just 18 seconds prior to getting the win.
"That was the game-changer," admitted the 29-year-old netminder.
THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
After a stretch of 11 games in the last 19 days, the Habs can now look forward to a slightly lighter schedule in the coming weeks.
"It's been a pretty gruelling schedule so far, so rest has been really important," underlined Price, who made eight starts over that span. "[But] I think everybody is tired. [Buffalo] played yesterday too, so we've just got to try to work our way through it."
One way of doing so, it turns out, is by not giving it too much thought.
"You don't want to think about [the schedule] too much. You want to stay focused and take things game-by-game. If you think about it, you'll drag yourself down, and that's not what we want as a team," concluded Danault. "We try to stay positive and take things one game at a time."