The Sabres came into Montreal looking to cool a red hot Canadiens team that was 8-0-1 in their last 9 games.
Buffalo began the period on there heels; backing off into a defensive strategy which allowed Montreal to take the first few shots of the game. Although they began slow, the Sabres were able to get some great sustained offensive pressure when a point shot shattered the stick of a Montreal d-man.
Buffalo cycled the puck well and were able to manage a couple of shots, and managed to force an icing call against Montreal. After regaining control of the puck Montreal cleared the zone and diffused the situation. The teams exchanged control for a few minutes until Montreal was able to get a three on two.
The play ended to no-avail for Montreal as the puck bounced over the stick of a net-crashing Alexi Emelin. Things were rather uneventful until the thirteen minute mark when Montreal generated a two on one with McBain getting caught up in the neutral zone.
Rather than shooting, the Montreal forward went for the pass, which was abruptly broke up by Christian Ehrhoff and sent to the boards. Buffalo picked up their play in the last 2 minutes of the period where they had Montreal hemmed deep in their defensive zone with great work from Brian Flynn and Marcus Foligno along the boards.
The Sabres were able to get off a few shots however none were of that great quality, and we were able to head to the break scoreless in Montreal.
Less than twenty seconds into the second period Montreal was able to find the back of the net. Montreal forced a turnover at the blue line and were able to get the puck deep to White. White was able to spin and throw the puck to the high slot with Prust barreling in. Prust fired the shot and beats Enroth low.
Buffalo came back with a good shift of there own and were able to generate a few chances however nothing would fall. Montreal nearly got on the board moments later when Gallagher found himself alone to the left of Enroth. He fired a puck short side however Enrtoh came up with a big glove save.
The Sabres had their best chance of the game up until this point at the eight minute mark of the second. D’Agostini found Leino in front and fed him the puck. Leino managed to direct the puck toward the net, however Price was able to cover. The Sabres held Montreal deep in their own zone for what seemed like an eternity with great work from Stafford and Moulson.
Coming off the bench, Ehrhoff was able to pinch and keep the puck deep in the zone. Ehrhoff wasted no time in throwing the puck into a seemingly invisible Tyler Ennis who blasted a one timer past Carey Price’s glove hand. Christian Ehrhoff is credited with the only assist on the goal.
Buffalo took the first penalty of the game, a slashing call against Pysyk, at the 11:26 mark of the second. The Sabres were able to successfully kill of the penalty and returned to full strength without surrendering any real opportunity to Montreal. The teams exchanged chances until Montreal was able to cash in on an over-pursuit by Tyler Ennis in the defensive zone.
Plekanec walked into the slot where he was found wide open by Brandon Prust where he was able to bury one with only two minutes and twelve seconds left in the second. Prust and Moen are credited with the assists on the Plekanec goal.
Moments later D’agostini found himself the victim of an uncalled elbow against Plekanec. Montreal came up the ice quickly on an odd-man rush where Galchenyuk was able to bury one.
Assists on the Galchenyuk goal go to Andrei Makarov and Tomas Plekanec. Though the Sabres were able to find the board in the second period, the Canadiens were able to score late and take away Buffalo’s momentum. The Sabres will head into the third period down 3 to 1, despite leading in shots 17 to 15.
Despite allowing the Canadiens to open the third period with pressure, the Sabres were able to find the back of the net 4 minutes in and come within one. Zemgus Girgensons picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated straight up the middle.
He lost the puck in the d-mans skates however was able to tuck it past and power through him as he drove to the net. Zemgus was hauled down a few feet out of the crease however was able to control himself enough to push the puck past Carey Price.
Midway through the third period the Sabres found themselves on a powerplay after PK Subban was caught holding the stick of Ville Leino. The power play was gone as quickly as it came, with the Sabres unable to generate any quality chances.
Time on the clock quickly wound down and the Sabres found themselves pulling their goaltender with just over a minute to go in the game. While they were able to hold Montreal deep in their own zone, the Sabres were unable to put the puck in the net and would fall 3-2 to Montreal.
Buffalo is back in action Tuesday night as they welcome Ottawa to the First Niagara Center for a 7 p.m. puck drop.