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Sabres beat Habs in shootout to sweep home-and-home series

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL - Bryan Flynn scored the winner in the shootout and once in regulation time to lead the visiting Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Zemgus Girgensons and Chris Stewart also scored for the Sabres (8-14-2) while Jhonas Enroth stopped 41 shots.

Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal (16-7-2). Dustin Tokarski made 23 saves in defeat.

After losing five straight, Buffalo has now won five of its past six contests.

Flynn beat Tokarski with a few nifty moves before slotting home the winner on his forehand in the shootout.

On Friday, the Sabres benefited from a lucky bounce off the glass with less than two minutes remaining in the game to beat the Canadiens 2-1 in Buffalo.

On Saturday, the Habs started strong, looking to quickly avenge Friday's loss. David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec each had a quality scoring chance in the game's first three minutes, but Enroth stood tall on both occasions.

Despite shooting on Tokarski just once in the game's first 13 minutes, Buffalo opened the score at 14:03 of the first.

After Tyler Ennis' shot was stopped by the Canadiens' backup goaltender, Montreal's Desharnais failed to clear the rebound, shooting the puck right off Girgensons and into the back of the net.

The goal was Girgensons' seventh of the season. The 20-year-old scored eight times in 70 games in his rookie year last season.

The Sabres blocked 11 shots in the first period.

The Canadiens started the second in inspired form, forcing several quality saves from Enroth in the first five minutes??? including an impressive stop with his right pad on Andrei Markov.

Montreal finally beat the 26-year-old Swede at 7:51 of the second.

Gallagher, who signed a six-year contract extension with the Canadiens earlier in the day, celebrated with his sixth goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.

The five-foot-nine forward seemingly hit both posts with a shot from the slot, but video replay later showed the puck crossed the line by a hair before it was knocked away by the knob of Enroth's stick.

Gallagher now has six goals and seven assists in 25 games with Montreal this season. In 150 regular-season games with the Canadiens, he has recorded 82 points (40 goals, 42 assists).

Stewart restored Buffalo's one-goal lead at 5:57 of the third period, beating Tokarski on a breakaway while being pestered by defencemen Mike Weaver and Bryan Allen. The play started with a huge shot block by Marcus Foligno in the defensive zone.

The Canadiens answered back just 94 seconds later when Lars Eller's shot toward Enroth went off the skate of Sabres defenceman Nikita Zadorov.

Montreal and Buffalo then scored 49 seconds apart, with Flynn equalizing at 14:04 of the third after Pacioretty gave the Habs a 3-2 lead at 13:15. Former Canadiens captain Brian Gionta got an assist on Flynn's marker.

Prior to puck drop, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin explained the decision to prolong Gallagher's playing time in Montreal until the 2020-21 season.

"He doesn't take a shift off, he never has," said Bergevin. "The effort is always there, and his character is off the charts. He's always in the paint, he works hard, he gets loose pucks, and he's not afraid of anything. He competes night in and night out."

The 22-year-old Edmonton native was drafted by Montreal in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL draft ??? 147th overall. He was named to the NHL all-rookie team in 2012-13.

"Brendan has shown from day one that he loves Montreal, and he wants to be a Montreal Canadien," added Bergevin, who said the deal was roughly one month in the making. "He's proud, and he loves the city and its fans. That made it even easier."

Notes: Defenceman Tom Gilbert was a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. ??? Former Habs defenceman Josh Gorges, who was traded to the Sabres in the off-season, missed the match with a knee injury. ??? Carey Price was on the bench after getting the start 24 hours earlier in Buffalo.

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