by Brian Wheeler
Since the 1992-93 season, the Buffalo Sabres hadn't won five consecutive games. On Thursday night, Brian Campbell's overtime winner elevated the Sabres to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens and extended Buffalo's winning-streak to one shy of a half dozen.
With less than three minutes remaining in overtime, Campbell snapped a wristshot past Montreal goaltender Jose Theodore on his glove side as Buffalo claimed their 17th point of a possible 18 in the team's last nine games.
"He's going full steam ahead," said Ruff of Campbell's play of late. "He took about a 20 second break in overtime and was right back out there. I said to him, 'Can you go?' He said, 'I'm ready.' I was amazed he was back out there right away, and he was the quickest guy out on the ice.
"He's just brimming with confidence right now and we're reaping the benefits of it."
Campbell and Tim Connolly each finished the game recording a goal and two assists, while rookie Jason Pominville
recorded two assists. Chris Drury scored the other goal for the Sabres.
"It was a game that was low on energy at times but big on heart," said Ruff. "It was a desperate way to win."
Leading scorer Daniel Briere and JP Dumont were again missing from the Sabres lineup due to abdominal strains.
"If you look at what the Rochester Americans did last year, the personnel that helped them get to where they went and those players that are playing here, we really haven't skipped a beat with some very important personnel out of the lineup," said Ruff of Pominville, Derek Roy
and Paul Gaustad. "You just have to give them a lot of credit in the room. They're not quitting and they just keeping coming."
"We need all four lines and every defenseman (to produce)," said Campbell. "We know we can't rely on (Dumont and Briere) to score the big goal at the end or get their goal a game, so we've had to get it done collectively."
Buffalo has now won two of four meetings against Montreal this season with the winning team scoring three goals in each contest.
"Montreal was one point ahead of us in the standings and after tonight, we're tied with them," said Campbell. "We've had a lot of games in a lot of nights and we're just working hard. We may not have had the legs out there, but we had the heart."
Martin Biron made 18 saves en route to his ninth victory of the season and has now won his last seven starts.
"Marty made the big saves when we needed him," said Ruff.
Buffalo trailed by two goals with eight minutes remaining in the second period but outscored Montreal 3-0 in the last 30 minutes of the game. The Sabres outshot Montreal 18-12 in the second, third and overtime periods combined.
"It really was a low chance game on both sides," stated Ruff. "They cashed in early, we closed the gap and we got them on their heels. You just felt like we were going to win it when you got to overtime."
Michael Ryder scored the first goal of the game and only tally of the first period after snapping a quick wristshot over the left shoulder of Biron at 8:06.
After trading goals in the second, the Sabres headed into the second intermission trailing 2-1.
With a delayed penalty called on Buffalo, who was already a man short, Pierre Dagenais slaps the puck through a crowd in front of Biron to expand Montreal's lead to two goals.
Tim Connolly answered with Buffalo's first power-play goal of the game, tipping Brian Campbell's shot from that point on net for his seventh tally of the season.
With the marker, Buffalo extended their streak to nine consecutive games with at least one power-play goal.
Drury evened the score 2-2 and sent the game into overtime with Buffalo's second power-play goal of the game, slipping the puck over Theodore and just under the crossbar from a bad angle on the left wing.
Buffalo has now recorded six of the team's nine goals in the last four games on the man advantage and has scored two power-play goals or more in 12 games this season.
Friday, the Sabres will face the San Jose Sharks and newly acquired center Joe Thornton at HSBC Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 PM.
----------------------------- SCORING REPORTS
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
0-1 (8:06): Collecting a loose puck behind the Buffalo defense, Michael Ryder snaps a quick wristshot over the left shoulder of goaltender Martin Biron for the first goal of the game. Mike Ribiero and Francis Bouillon record the assists. Period 2
0-2 (3:53): With a delayed penalty called on Buffalo with the Sabres already a man short, Piere Dagenais slaps the puck through a crowd in front of Martin Biron to expand Montreal's lead to two goals. The goal is Dagenais' second of the season. Craig Rivet gets the first assist, while Michael Ryder records his second point of the game with the second.
1-2 (12:04): Tim Connolly tips Brian Campbell's shot from the point to cut Montreal's lead to one. The goal is Connolly's seventh of the season. Campbell and Jason Pominville
record the assists. Period 3
2-2 (15:45): Chris Drury scores Buffalo's second power-play of the game. Drury beat Jose Theodore with a hard wristshot from a bad angle on the left wing that just snuck under the crossbar. The goal is Drury's seventh of the season. Tim Connolly and Brian Campbell record the assists. Overtime
3-2 (2:15): Brian Campbell snaps a wristshot past Jose Theodore on his glove side for the overtime game-winner. Tim Connolly and Jason Pominville
get the helpers.
Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.