BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Jason Pominville scored a power-play goal 1:09 into overtime lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the injury-depleted Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
The Canadiens played much of the game minus two forwards. Max Pacioretty was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons after being struck in the right side by a teammate's shot early in the first period. Montreal also lost Michael Cammalleri to an upper body injury, after he was cross-checked from behind by Buffalo's Mike Weber early in the first period.
Tyler Ennis had a goal and assist and Thomas Vanek had two assists for Buffalo, which snapped a four-game losing streak against the Canadiens, dating to last season.
David Desharnais scored for Montreal, while Carey Price stopped 37 shots. ...more.
The Sabres took a power play into the overtime period after Scott Gomez was whistled for high-sticking Nathan Gerbe at 19:17 of the third period. With the man advantage ticking down, Ryan Miller made a heads up play by coming out of his net to send a pass up the right wing boards to Tyler Ennis while Montreal was in the midst of a line change. Ennis entered the offensive zone and slipped a pass to Thomas Vanek, who then found Jason Pominville alone in front. Pominville fired a shot past Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who made 37 saves in the game, to give Buffalo its sixth win in nine games.Ryan Miller
, starting for the 22nd consecutive game, finished with 29 saves, and none were bigger than his stop on Tomas Plekanec’s breakaway chance with five minutes remaining in the third period. Plekanec, Montreal’s leading scorer on the season, took a feed just inside the blue line and came in alone on Miller. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner stopped Plekanec’s initial offering, then turned aside Plekanec’s attempt on the rebound as well. In addition to his stellar performance in goal, Miller also helped set up Buffalo’s game-winning goal when he came out of his net and quickly made a pass up ice to Ennis during a line change. Two passes later, Pominville scored the winning goal.
Ennis made a great play to Vanek and Vanek made a great play to Pominville. It’s not something you stand behind the bench and draw up. - Head Coach Lindy Ruff on the game-winning goal
- Buffalo got on the board during a second period power play when Ennis deposited a rebound past Price for his 11th goal of the season. Vanek and Tim Connolly each collected an assist.
- Ennis finished with a goal and an assist for the second straight game.
- With two assists in the game, Vanek now has a three-game point streak (1-5-6) and has registered 4-8-12 in the last eight games to take over the team scoring lead from injured center Derek Roy with 37 points (17-20-37). Nineteen of Vanek’s 37 points have come on the power play as the winger has tallied nine goals and 10 assists with the man advantage.
- The Sabres improved to 6-2-1 over the last nine games with the victory.
- Patrick Kaleta returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury and finished with four penalty minutes and 9:35 of ice time.
- Drew Stafford left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return. He recorded 2:00 of ice time before leaving the contest. Following the game, Lindy Ruff said Stafford had suffered a groin injury and would be further evaluated on Wednesday.
- The win was Buffalo’s fourth overtime win of the season, three of which have come on home ice.
- Jordan Leopold led the Sabres with 23:45 TOI and tied with Jochen Hecht with a game-high six shots on goal.
- Montreal was playing the second half of a back-to-back set after defeating Calgary 5-4 in overtime at home on Monday.
- Defensemen Chris Butler and Craig Rivet were scratched for Buffalo.
- Defenseman Alexandre Picard and left win Benoit Pouliot were scratched for Montreal. Pouliot missed Montreal’s game on Monday with the flu.
The Sabres will play their second straight divisional opponent Thursday when they travel to Boston to take on the Bruins, who began this week by sweeping a back-to-back, home-and-home series with Carolina on Monday and Tuesday. In the first meeting, which took place in Boston, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara notched his first career hat trick to lead a 7-0 victory. On Tuesday, the Bruins downed the Hurricanes 3-2 in Carolina, moving them to 4-1-0 over the last five games. When the Sabres and Bruins last met on New Year’s Day, the teams played a high-scoring affair that ended in a 7-6 Buffalo shootout win. Drew Stafford scored three times for the Sabres, giving him hat tricks in two consecutive games against the Bruins after also netting all three goals in a 3-2 win over Boston on Dec. 15. Through four meetings, the Sabres have gone 2-1-1 against the Bruins.