The Buffalo Sabres hosted the Wild Card leading Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night at the First Niagara Center, looking to snap a 5-game losing streak.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, things would not get off to a good start.
Montreal came out of the gate and controlled play early, clearly showing the Sabres who the better team is.
The Canadiens offensive zone domination continued throughout the period, and came to a head when a goal was scored.
At 14:41, Dale Weise would score his 4th goal of the season but quickly was headed to Toronto for a video review. After a somewhat lengthy video review, it was determined that David Desharnais’ shot went off of Weise’s skate, and there was no distinct kicking motion. This goal gave Montreal a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, Montreal would strike again. A shot saved by Jhonas Enroth, turned into a juicy rebound. Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel attempted to clear the puck, but proceeded to put it past Enroth. The goal at 16:07 of the first, credited as Brendan Gallagher’s 17th of the season, put Montreal up 2-0.
Heading into the second period, the Sabres would need to completely turn themselves around to make some sort of impact.
As per the norm for Buffalo, things did not turn around.
“To win this game, you have to score goals,” said Cody Hodgson. “That is on our offensive players, and that is on me too.”
Throughout most of the second period, the Canadiens seemed to take a step back, while still managing to control the game in all facets.
One important thing that happened during the second frame was the loss of Jhonas Enroth, and debut of a prospect in net.
Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher skated in hard at Jhonas Enroth, and lost an edge because of Jamie McBain, who was trying to push Gallagher off the puck. Gallagher blew up into Enroth’s right leg, and appeared to seriously injure Enroth.
“It’s one of those things where you’re between a rock and a hard place,” said Jamie McBain. “You try to make a play on it, and it’s unfortunate. Hopefully he (Enroth) is ok.”
Enroth left the game, and recently recalled rookie Nathan Lieuwen entered the net to make his National Hockey League debut. In 3:51 of ice time, Lieuwen stopped all 4 shots he faced.
“It felt like a dream”, said Nathan Lieuwen. “I had to almost pinch myself. The nice part about getting thrown right in is that I didn’t have to think about it.”
Entering the third period, the Sabres trailed the Canadiens 2-0, and saw themselves getting outshot 25-18.
Not much changed for the Buffalo Sabres in the third period. The Sabres found themselves outworked and out-chanced.
While Montreal did not score again in this game, they outshot the Sabres 11-6 and controlled most of the play throughout the period.
When all was said and done, the Sabres would lose to the Canadiens 2-0. This goes in the books as Buffalo’s 6th-straight loss, and 41st of the season, which is one shy of tying a franchise record.
“If we don’t have bad luck, we have no luck at all,” said Ted Nolan. “It’s one of those bad couple weeks.”
Buffalo currently sits at 19-41-8 on the season, with 46 points.
The Sabres are in action again this Tuesday night, when they travel to Calgary and take on the Flames. Puck drops shortly after 9 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on MSG.