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game recap

Canadiens defeat Sabres, pad lead for second wild card in East

Gallagher has two goals, assist to help Montreal win third straight

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

Gallagher's second of the game

BUF@MTL: Weber sets up Gallagher's second goal

Shea Weber makes a great pass to Brendan Gallagher inside the circle, where he slams it into the net for his second goal of the game

  • 00:58 •

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens kept pace in the wild-card race in the Eastern Conference with a 7-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Bell Centre on Saturday.

The Canadiens are three points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the East. Montreal remained two points behind the Carolina Hurricanes, who won 5-1 against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and hold the first wild card.

Brendan Gallagher had two goals and an assist, Max Domi and Tomas Tatar each had one goal and two assists, and Carey Price made 23 saves for Montreal (40-28-7), which won its third straight after going 1-4-0 in the previous five games.


[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Canadiens highlights]


"It's a huge win," Domi said. "I mean, as a team, I think we stayed focused, we stayed grounded and found a way to execute and buried our chances, so we had everyone going tonight. It's a great effort."

Sam Reinhart, Alexander Nylander, Marco Scandella and Jack Eichel scored for Buffalo (31-34-9), which was eliminated from playoff contention. Carter Hutton made 37 saves for the Sabres, who have one win in their past 10 games (1-8-1).

Video: BUF@MTL: Byron cashes in on two-on-one opportunity

"It's been a long year and obviously these same issues seem to continue to haunt us, so we've just got to be better here for the next few games," Eichel said. "I think there's a lot of pride on the line. There's a lot to play for. You know, we represent our city, we represent each other, this organization, and that should be enough right there."

Paul Byron put Montreal ahead 4-3 at 18:03 with the sixth goal of the second period. 

Gallagher scored his second goal of the game, his 33rd, to make it 5-3 at 8:35 of the third.

Eichel made it 5-4 with his 26th goal at 13:13, seven seconds after the Canadiens killed a pair of minor penalties to Andrew Shaw.

Video: BUF@MTL: Tatar pots empty-netter in 500th NHL game

Domi extended the lead to 6-4 with a power-play goal at 15:30. Tatar scored into an empty net with 2:13 remaining in his 500th NHL game for the 7-4 final.

"I thought our team did a great job of responding," Byron said. "You know, the third period we didn't sit back on our heels, we kept chasing the game, kept trying to score, and that was a huge two points for us."

Reinhart gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 12:26 of the first.

Domi got his 200th NHL point with the first of his two assists on Artturi Lehkonen's goal at 5:09 of the second that tied it at 1-1.

Video: BUF@MTL: Eichel cleans up in front to trim deficit

Gallagher scored his NHL career-high 32nd goal of the season at 9:12 to make it 2-1, and Shaw made it 3-1 at 14:23.

Nylander scored on a power play 30 seconds later to make it 3-2 at 14:53. Scandella tied it at 3-3 at 16:08.

"It's a frustrating outcome, for sure," Eichel said. "We had a few chances where I thought we got back close in the game and it seemed like they always got that next one."

Video: BUF@MTL: Domi snaps one by Hutton for PPG


They said it

"I love the response in the second. You know, we come and tie it up and we show some jam, but we have the puck on our stick and we just can't make these critical mistakes just ending up in our net." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley

"We've had some pretty emotional games here and I think that sort of brings out the best in us. For us right now, you're really focused on one thing and that's getting wins, and I thought we did a good job." -- Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher


Need to know

Eichel, who also had an assist, has scored a goal against each of the other 30 NHL teams. He had eight assists but had not scored in his 15 previous games against Montreal. … Price will "most probably" start at the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. … Shaw has an NHL career-high 40 points. … Domi has 202 points (62 goals, 140 assists) in 297 games with the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal. He reached 200 points in 539 fewer games than his father, Tie Domi, who got his 200th point (87 goals, 113 assists) in his 836th NHL game Jan. 30, 2003. … Lehkonen's goal was the 22,000th in Canadiens history, including the team's eight seasons in the National Hockey Association (1909-17) prior to the founding of the NHL. … Montreal scored a power-play goal in consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 7-9.


What's next

Sabres: At the New Jersey Devils on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, FS-CR, RDS, NHL.TV)

Video: Canadiens down Sabres, 7-4, for third straight win

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