Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel hit the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career Thursday night in the team's 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center.
Carter Hutton made 27 saves for Buffalo. He started in place of Linus Ullmark, who will miss the next three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury. It was Hutton's third start since Dec. 19.
Ilya Kovalchuk, Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar scored for Montreal. Carey Price turned aside 20 Sabres shots.
Eichel opened the scoring 7:11 into the game on the power play. His wrister from the left faceoff dot beat Price short side. It was his seventh marker of the season with the man advantage.
Kovalchuk scored 44 seconds into the second period to tie the game, roofing a shot top corner while in tight. Kovalchuk, at 36 years old, has 24 goals and 39 points in 42 career games against the Sabres.
At 3:05 of the second, Montreal took the lead when Gallagher accepted a pass from Nick Suzuki and while all alone in front, stickhandled around Hutton for his 16th goal of the season.
Tatar added an empty-net goal with 1:47 left in regulation.
What it means
Buffalo is now 22-22-7 on the season and 14-8-3 at home.
Eichel now has 30 goals and 34 assists on the season. With his goal, he reached the 30/30 mark in 50 games played, matching Perreault's personal best for fewest games needed to get to 30 goals and 30 assists (1974-75).
Rasmus Dahlin's assist on Eichel's goal also moved him up on a list of pretty exceptional players. He now has 73 points (12+61) in his career and passed Bobby Orr for the fourth-most points by a teenage defenseman in NHL history.
Kyle Okposo left the game with 6:06 remaining in the first period and did not return.
Roll the highlight film
Here's No. 30 for No. 9:
Video: MTL@BUF: Eichel goes short side for PPG
The Sabres' homestand continues on Saturday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's a 1 p.m. start for Kids Day. Special ticket offers for the game are on sale now.
Buffalo will return to practice tomorrow. Stay tuned to Sabres.com and our social media channels for full coverage throughout the day.