Canadiens too hot to handle

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The 1975-76 Sabres’ team is the only team in NHL history to start the season with eight consecutive regular season wins. The Montreal Canadiens came in with a perfect 7-0 start, looking to match the Sabres’ record. 

Although the Sabres recovered from a two-goal deficit at one point, the Canadiens were too much to handle as they improved to 8-0 with a 7-2 victory at the First Niagara Center on Friday night. 

After the game was tied at two, Montreal took control and scored five unanswered goals. Andrei Markov led both teams with five points (one goal, four assists), and Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban each had three assists.

Carey Price received the night off for Montreal while backup goaltender Mike Condon got the start in net. Condon had started in one other game, stopping 20 of 21 shots and earning a win against Ottawa. 

Condon made a big glove save on Evander Kane with just under 10 seconds remaining in the first period. He finished the game with 34 of 36 saves on the night. 

At the other end, Chad Johnson got the start in goal and made a couple big saves, including a breakaway save while the Sabres were shorthanded. However, he had his worst outing as a Sabre, stopping just 18 shots out of 25.

The Sabres got caught behind the play and the Canadiens took advantage of an odd man rush. A couple of quick passes and Dale Weise shot one by Johnson for his second goal of the season, putting Montreal up, 1-0. 

The Canadiens grabbed another goal early in the second as Brendan Gallagher jammed one past Johnson. It appeared that Johnson held the post, but he left a hole opened, and Gallagher gave Montreal a 2-0 lead.

The Sabres were finally able to capitalize early in the second period when Sam Reinhart made a fancy, no-look pass to Matt Moulson, who buried a shot to get Buffalo on the board.

About halfway through the second period and just five seconds into a power play, Ryan O’Reilly took a pass and one-timed in by Condon to knot the game at two.

The Canadiens responded quickly after P.K. Subban let a shot go from the point. Former Sabre Torrey Mitchell deflected it off the post and in, giving Montreal a 3-2 lead. Then, after Tyler Ennis took a roughing penalty, the Canadiens scored immediately after. Andrei Markov blasted home his first of the season and Montreal quickly regained the two-goal lead.

The Canadiens didn’t let up in the third. Just 33 seconds in, Gallagher picked a spot and connected for his second of the night. Max Pacioretty joined the party as he scored his third of the season with under 10 minutes remaining in the third and Dale Weise added another to make it 7-2.

The Sabres are scheduled to finish their three game homestand Saturday against New Jersey. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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