After a strong showing on Friday night at home, the Buffalo Sabres came up short Saturday night in Montreal and fell by a score of 3-0 against the Canadiens. The hosts took advantage of an outstanding 36-save shutout from goaltender Carey Price and two-point efforts from Alex Galchenyuk (1 goal, 1 assist), Paul Byron (1 goal, 1 assist) and Jonathan Drouin (2 assists) to cruise to victory.
The first period saw the Sabres with a lion’s share of the possession to start, putting pressure on the Canadiens all-star goaltender. When the Canadiens counter-punched, Robin Lehner was up to the task in his second straight start. The Sabres netminder made a couple big saves of his own, including stopping Andrew Shaw on a cross crease effort, as he slid across his net and denied the Canadiens forward with his glove.
The 0-0 tie was broken by a Rasmus Ristolainen deflection, which was unfortunately directed into the wrong net. With his stick on the ice to stop a Jeff Petry power play shot, the puck ramped off his stick blade and over the shoulder of Lehner.
Despite the setback, the Sabres came flying out of the gate in the second period, looking to equalize. The visitors took seven of the first eight shots on goal in the period, but Price once again rose to meet the challenge, and the Habs were able to once again reward their keeper.
With a little over six minutes in the middle frame, the Canadiens broke out of their own zone. Drouin took a pass from Victor Mete, and then one-touched it to former Sabre Paul Byron, who broke in with Alex Galchenyuk on a 2-on-1. Lehner stopped Byron’s shot, but kicked the shot right back out to Galchenyuk who tapped the puck into a yawning net.
One clear area of weakness for the Sabres once again was the power play. Despite only getting two chances, the Sabres came up empty on those efforts for the sixth consecutive game and are now 0-for-15 on the man advantage in that six-game span.
On the second man advantage, the specter of shorthanded goals against reared its ugly head once again. Eichel tried to force a pass to Sam Reinhart as the Sabres entered the zone. Byron was there to deftly intercept it, turn on the jets, and beat Lehner with a backhand. It was the Sabres seventh shorthanded goal against on the season.
The team attempted to salvage something, pulling the goalie with five minutes remaining and generating a few chances. Kane was able to jam home the loose puck with 36 seconds remaining, but the goal was called back due to Reinhart making contact with Price just before Kane fired it home.
The war room in Toronto initiated a review and the goal was ultimately waved off for goaltender interference and Price was able to collect his second shutout over Buffalo.
That spelt the end for the Sabres, who now have just two wins in the month of November and fell to 6-14-4 on the season. They also fell to 0-1-2 against Montreal this season.
They will once again try to get back on track Tuesday night, when the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning roll into town.