The Sabres had the first five shots in overtime before Paul Byron took the only one that mattered, getting credit for a game winner that gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 overtime win at First Niagara Center Wednesday night. Byron raced up the left wing then sent the puck in front of the net toward Torrey Mitchell. Unfortunately, it deflected off Zach Bogosian’s stick into the net. Official scorers actually did not award a shot on goal to Byron or the Habs on the game-winner, instead they called it a pass that Bogosian re-directed.
Having split their first four games, the win gave the Canadiens a 3-2 edge in the season series. The road team has now won 11 of the last 16 games between the these two clubs. Plenty of red filled the arena.
The Sabres generated a lot of offense in this one but lacked finish and hurt themselves with a lot of undisciplined play. Though there weren’t any fighting majors, the game was chippy with post-whistle skirmishes and plenty of extra curricular activity between the two teams. At one point, Montreal goalie Ben Scrivens made his way to the blue line to challenge Lehner, but officials intervened. In all, 100 penalty minutes were called.
The Sabres started the game with a lot of jump, controlling much of the play in the first period. Zach Bogosian opened the scoring on the power play. Scoreless in their last four games (0-for-12), the Sabres’ power play finally broke through. After taking a sweet no-look pass from Ryan O’Reilly, Bogosian fired a shot that was blocked. He batted his own rebound out of mid-air, knocking the puck with the shaft of his stick past Ben Scrivens. The goal was reviewed but video evidence was inconclusive, so the call on the ice stood.
Bogosian was a beast in the period, playing 8:31 and registering five shots on goal–equal to the entire Montreal team. The Sabres outshot the Habs 15-5, with a 1-0 lead after one period of play.
Greg Pateryn tied the game 1-1 just 47 seconds into the second period with his first-ever NHL goal. His drive from the right point beat Lehner clean, stick side.
With just 2.7 seconds remaining in the second period, Andrei Markov’s power play goal put the Canadiens up 2-1. His blast from the point deflected off Brian Gionta’s stick and floated like a knuckleball past Lehner, glove side. Pacioretty’s assist extended his point streak to six games.
In the third period, with Evander Kane serving a double minor, the Sabres tied it 2-2. David Legwand gained control of the puck and waited for the Habs to make a line change before feeding a long, perfect pass up to Marcus Foligno in stride at the blue line. He skated in with full speed then buried his 10th of the season, the Sabres’ 5th shortie of the season, going five hole on Scrivens. Foligno has four goals and two assists in his last six games against Montreal.
Bylsma clearly couldn’t help himself, playing O’Reilly 22:02 in his first game back from an injury that kept him off the ice for 11 games. As expected, he played on a line with Evander Kane and Nicolas Deslauriers.
The Sabres host the Ottawa Senators Friday night at First Niagara Center. Then Saturday they’ll head up the Q.E.W. for a meeting with the rival Leafs. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.