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game recap

Canadiens defeat Sabres, lose Subban

Defenseman taken off ice on stretcher in third period

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens' 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday became a secondary consideration after Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban was taken off the ice on a stretcher after sustaining a neck injury with 2:26 remaining in the third period.

Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk had his third straight two-goal game, and Torrey Mitchell scored the go-ahead goal with 6:39 remaining in the third to give the Canadiens their second straight win at Bell Centre.

However, all thoughts after the game were on Subban.

"You're trying to win a hockey game, but you almost felt like you don't want to keep playing at that point in time," Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma said. "There's a couple of minutes left in the game, but you're really mostly entirely concerned for the athlete and for the person, and the game's an afterthought."

Subban was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure after he was injured in a collision with teammate Alexei Emelin in the right corner. Subban threw off his gloves and fell to the ice after his head was pushed downward suddenly when Emelin backed into him along the boards.

Medical staff attended to Subban, who lay on his back on the ice. He was immobilized before he was taken off

Video: BUF@MTL: Subban leaves game with injury

"I think he was taken to the hospital, but they seemed optimistic," said Montreal captain Max Pacioretty, who sustained a fractured cervical vertebra and a concussion when he was run into a stanchion between the benches by Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins in 2011. "But I've been in that position before and it brings back a lot of tough memories, so it was really hard for me to watch."

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said it was tough to look on and not be able to do anything.

"You always want to make sure your player is going to be healthy, [that] he's going to be fine," Therrien said. "It's always scary when you see the doctor go on the ice and you don't know what's going on, and I think all the bench felt the same thing when he left on the stretcher. So we're happy to get the win. But after I went to see him, he was with the doctor, we had a good conversation; he was capable [of moving] everything, and that's the good news regarding the circumstances. But we really hope he's going to be good."

Subban will undergo further testing, Canadiens spokesman Donald Beauchamp said.

Mike Condon made 36 saves for Montreal (32-30-6), which has won two straight since returning from an 0-3-1 road trip. The Canadiens continue a four-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

Video: BUF@MTL: Galchenyuk buries rebound to tie the game

Galchenyuk, who played his third straight game at center, tied the game 1-1 when he scored at 9:09 of the second period, nine seconds after Nicolas Deslauriers gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead.

He scored his second of the game, his 11th in the past eight games and team-leading 25th, on a power play with 44 seconds remaining in the period.

Galchenyuk, who had a chance at a hat trick but missed his shot at an empty net, is the first Canadiens player with three consecutive multiple-goal games since Brian Savage from Oct. 25-28, 1995.

"We knew he came into the game red-hot, we knew he was on fire and unfortunately we were unable to stop him there," Bylsma said. "He had the power-play opportunity there; that one, disappointingly enough, they had us on the ropes there for a lot of that power play and we blocked a shot there and it looks like we might get a reprieve, and kind of a bang-bang play. The puck bounces off of us and then it's quick out to the front of the net, and Alex, he's all alone, all by himself standing at our goalie. For a guy that's that hot, it's a tap-in for him."

Brian Gionta got the Sabres even at 2-2 with his ninth goal at 5:10 of the third period. Evander Kane's shot from the left side hit the skates of the Sabres' captain and deflected into the net.

But Mitchell scored his eighth goal at 13:21 to make it 3-2. He snapped a shot past Robin Lehner from the lower right circle.

Video: BUF@MTL: Galchenyuk nets second goal of game for lead

Lehner made 31 saves for Buffalo (27-33-9), which lost 4-2 to the New York Rangers on Tuesday. The Sabres host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Deslauriers reached out his stick to tip Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe's shot over Condon's glove and into the net off the right post to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 9:00 of the second period.

Galchenyuk tied it 1-1 nine seconds later. Pacioretty got an assist when his pass from behind the net bounced off Lehner and went to Galchenyuk, who was left uncovered in front of the net and shot past the Buffalo goalie.

Subban got his Canadiens-leading 45th assist when Galchenyuk put them ahead 2-1. From the left boards, forward Sven Andrighetto sent a centering pass to Galchenyuk, who beat Lehner from the goalmouth.

"I've got to give a lot of credit to my linemates," Galchenyuk said. "The first goal was a great set up from [Pacioretty], and the second goal was obviously a gift from Sven."

Galchenyuk has five two-goal games in his past eight games. He is tied with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames for the NHL lead with seven multigoal games.

He is the first Canadiens player since Jean Beliveau to score two goals or more five times in eight games. Beliveau accomplished the feat from Feb. 28 to March 15, 1959. He had 13 goals and 23 points during that span.

Video: Galchenyuk leads Habs over Sabres

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