Johansson finishes off Habs

The Buffalo Sabres fought hard for two points to start their three-game homestand on a win against the Montreal Canadiens. Captain Jack Eichel lead the way with two goals and two assists while Carter Hutton played bigger than his 0.852 save percentage to secure this one.

This back and forth contest saw the lead change three times with the powerplay being the main driver. Victor Olofsson and Eichel both netted a powerplay goal for Buffalo and Joel Armia had a powerplay and shorthanded goal for Montreal. Buffalo finished 2-5 on the power play, with Marcus Johansson’s overtime winner coming just after the powerplay ended.

The Canadiens worked hard all game and controlled play at times, coming from behind to tie or take the lead twice in the game. Along with Armia’s pair of goals, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ben Chiarot added goals in the third period to tie it up and force overtime. Both goals came off of hard zone entries and fighting for ice. Keith Kinkaid backstopped the hard-nosed effort saving 34 of 39 shots for a 0.872 save percentage, but it was ultimately not good enough to best Buffalo.

 “We’re in the beginning of a long hard season of growth and learning” – Head Coach Ralph Krueger

The message is clear and it is evident in Buffalo’s play that there is still work to be done. Moving from unstoppable to uncoordinated throughout the game, it created an up and down game but ultimately ended in the win column. Buffalo moves to 3-0-1 and remains undefeated at home. Hutton also remains undefeated at 3-0-0 with a .906 save percentage on the season. The Sabres also continue to show they can put the puck in the net, now leading the league with 18 goals on the season through four games.

“Breakdowns are going to happen. You’re going to have to work through those things. Keep communicating through them, working hard, and competing.” – Jeff Skinner

Montreal now falls to 1-0-2 with another tight game leading to the overtime loss. Chiarot added his first goal as a member of the Canadiens to compliment Armia’s two-goal/three-point night. Giveaways and some big saves from Hutton were the keys to their demise and they will look to recover in their home opener on Thursday.

Buffalo will try to continue their winning ways at home in game two of their three-game homestand on Friday night at 7:00 PM in the KeyBank Center against the Florida Panthers (1-2-0).

Cory Hubbard
I am a lifelong Buffalo hockey fan living in Boston, MA, where I moved after graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I have played hockey my whole life and love bringing my passion for Buffalo hockey together with my knowledge and love of the game.
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