Buffalo (25-11-4) at Montreal (21-19-3)
The Sabres hosted the Canadiens for the fourth matchup between the teams this season. Entering the game, Buffalo led the series with a 2-0-1 advantage, outscoring Montreal 11-7.
The Sabres were coming off of back-to-back games in which they have overcome three goal deficits. They came in on a three game winning streak as they headed into Montreal. Buffalo has won four games in a row, four seperate times this season, and they had another chance to do it today. Buffalo has been outshot 62-20 in the first period of its last five games and 39-7 in its last three contests on home ice.
The Sabres played a much better first period than in recent games. Despite being outshot 10-6, Buffalo kept Montreal off of the scoreboard. Tim Kennedy was the only player to visit the penalty box, which he did twice. Buffalo killed off each of those penalties.
It took almost 30 minutes, but Buffalo struck first. Tim Connolly put in his own rebound for his 11th goal of the season. Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht assisted on the goal, and the Sabres took a 1-0 lead. The Sabres outshot the Canadiens 15-9 in the second period.
Neither team was able to score in the third. Montreal had a number of chances late, but Ryan Miller came up big, leading the team to a 1-0 win. The Sabres have now won twice this season when scoring only one goal. The other time was against Nashville in the third game of the season.
Both teams ended the game with 30 shots, which happens to be Ryan Miller’s number. Miller earned his fifth shutout of the season as the Sabres improved to 16-0 when leading after two periods. Miller is tied with Ilya Bryzgalov for the league lead in shutouts with five.
With the win, the Sabres have now won four games in a row. They have now done that five times this season, but have yet to win five in a row. Buffalo will have a chance to do that on Wednesday when they host Tampa Bay.
The Sabres trail the Devils by three points for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.