November 24, 2006
By Brian Wheeler
Missed opportunities on during even strength, on the power play and in overtime haunted the Buffalo Sabres (18-3-2) on Friday night.
With only 1.0 seconds remaining in overtime, defenseman Sheldon Souray fired a blistering wristshot into the top-left corner of the net to give the Montreal Canadiens (13-5-3) a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in HSBC Arena.Audio: Lindy Ruff | Ryan Miller | Jason PominvillePhotos: Click Here
"We could have had two [points] tonight and we shouldn't be happy with one," said head coach Lindy Ruff.
Buffalo could have tacked on their second goal of the night on any number of chances they created throughout the game.
They could have seen one of the three shots that rang of the post slip by Montreal netminder Cristobal Huet, who recorded the victory with 29 saves. They could have scored on any of its six power-play opportunities. Or leading goal scorer, Thomas Vanek
, might have been able to create another inch of room to slip the puck around Huet on a breakaway in overtime.
Unfortunately Buffalo created quality-scoring chances against Montreal, the team just couldn't quite convert.
"We were moving the puck around well and were controlling the zone," said Jason Pominville
, one of the point men on the power play. "We just didn't bury our chances and it always hurts when you don't capitalize on those power plays.
"We try to use those as a momentum builder and we didn't do that tonight."
The game winner was product of solid play by Montreal in Buffalo's zone. After a blocked shot ricocheted into the neutral zone, Alex Kovalev hit Souray with a long pass to the blueline. The defenseman skated to the left wing and fired for his ninth of the season at 4:59.
"[Souray] got the shot up and it was spinning away from him," said goaltender Ryan Miller
, who stopped 28-of-30 shots in his first loss to Montreal of his career. Entering the game, Miller held a record of 6-0-0 against the Northeast Division foe. "It went left of the blocker and was a pretty good shot. I was a little surprised they had enough time to do it."
Buffalo took the 1-0 lead midway through the second period after a scoreless first.
Jaroslav Spacek netted his fourth goal of the season after receiving a pass from Brian Campbell in the high slot and blasting a slapshot over Cristobal Huet's left pad at 12:27 of the second period.
Ales Kotalik recorded the second assist, giving him five helpers in the last three games.
Saku Koivu tied the game with a backhand shot that slipped between Miller's pads on a three-on-one break at 8:21 of the third.
Koivu was attempting to pass to the front of the net, and mishandled the puck past the poke-checking goaltender. Three of Koivu's five goals this season have come against Buffalo.
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