It wasn’t a pretty performance or one you would want to see again, but the Buffalo Sabres clawed their way back and hung on to beat the Montreal Canadiens by a 3-1 score Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
If it wasn’t for Ryan Miller, who stopped 40 of 41 shots on the night, the Sabres may not have had any chance at leaving Montreal with two points.
Everything was working in Montreal’s favor to begin the game. Montreal went all out in the opening period, but Miller stood his ground and managed to keep the scored tied at zero heading into the first intermission. The Canadiens outshot Buffalo 14-3 in the first, but the Sabres escaped the period.
Not much changed as the Canadiens continued to put on the pressure early in the second period. Eventually, the hard work paid off as they finally beat Miller. Raphael Diaz earned his first career NHL goal as he put Montreal up, 1-0.
The Canadiens continued to out-chance the Sabres, but the Sabres 4th line stepped up. Cody McCormick dropped the gloves with Travis Moen, shifting the momentum in favor of Buffalo.
The Sabres managed to tie the game halfway through the second period as Jordan Leopold jumped up on the play and buried a rebound past Carey Price.
After Montreal iced the puck with five seconds left in the second period, Thomas Vanek ripped a snap shot past Carey Price with 2.8 seconds remaining to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. That turned out to be the game-winning goal.
The Sabres hung on to the lead despite constant pressure from Montreal. In the final minute with the goaltender pulled, Christian Ehrhoff shot the puck from his own end of the ice and into the gaping, Montreal net to seal the deal.
The Sabres improved to 4-1 on the season and moved into 1st place in the Northeast Division. The Canadiens dropped to 1-3-1 and have now lost each of the past four games against Buffalo.
The Sabres special teams performed much better, killing off all five penalties. They only had one power play opportunity, which they did not score on.
Buffalo have won the first two games of this four game road trip, and will head Florida for Thursday’s game against the Panthers.