It came down to a lucky bounce. After a back and forth game, the Sabres capitalized on a dump in play in the final minutes of the game. While Carey Price went to play the puck behind the net, the puck took a generous bounce to the front of the net, where Matt Moulson ripped it home, leading the Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens at the First Niagara Center.
Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin delivered a hit to the head of Brian Gionta with under two minutes remaining in the third period, giving the Sabres a power play.
Jhonas Enroth made numerous key stops in goal and he stepped up as the Sabres needed him to, making 30 of 31 saves for his fourth win of the season. Enroth has an even strength shutout streak that has now gone up to 268:35.
Tyler Ennis got things started just minutes into a game with a beautiful goal on a backhanded shot that beat Carey Price.
“That first goal by Ennis…That’s probably one we’ll see the rest of the season on highlights,” Ted Nolan said. “That was one beautiful goal.”
Despite the Canadiens being the top team in the league, the Sabres stayed with them the whole night. Montreal came to life in the third period and started to get some momentum going.
After Ennis took a tripping penalty 55 seconds into the third period, P.A. Parenteau jammed one into the net after Enroth appeared to have the puck covered. The Montreal fans came to live and the atmosphere became much more intense as chants for both teams were going in the stands.
With the win, the Sabres avoided setting some records. They prevented dropping seven consecutive games against the Canadiens, which would’ve been the longest streak in franchise history. In the past five home games against Montreal, the Sabres finally earned a win after losing the previous four.
The gameplay was physical as both teams were dishing out hits. While Marcus Foligno earned the Carubba Collision of the game, it was Nikita Zadorov that may have had the best hit of the night. Brandon Prust and Chris Stewart had a lengthy, spirited bout at the tail end of the opening period and they received a roaring ovation from the crowd.
Drew Stafford left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return. He played five shits and recorded 2:13 of ice time before exiting with an injury. Nolan said they will check on Stafford in practice on Saturday, but that he should be able to play.
The Sabres will be right back at it on Saturday night as they head north to finish a home and home set against the Canadiens. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.