NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal |
(Saturday, December 9th)
Final Score: Buffalo 3, Montreal 2 (SO)
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek's goal in the second round of the
shootout proved to be the game-winner, as the Buffalo Sabres edged the
Montreal Canadiens, 3-2 at Bell Centre.
Vanek's goal was the result of an unusual move in a shootout round, a slap
shot from an almost stationary position in the slot. Skating in on Canadiens
goaltender Cristobal Huet, the young winger slowed down about 30 feet from the
goal, and sent a blistering slapper right under the crossbar that a stunned
Huet could do nothing about.
On the next shot, Sergei Samsonov's backhander sailed high over the net, and
the Sabres came away with the win.
"He was hoping it was just a fake or something, but it worked out well
for me," said Vanek. "We played a lot harder. In Florida the other night, it
was embarrassing. We were outskated and outworked. A reality check produced a
good win for us."
Jiri Novotny and Derek Roy scored in regulation for the Sabres, winners in
three of their last five games. Daniel Briere added a goal in the shootout.
Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots to pick up the win.
Sheldon Souray netted a goal and an assist, and Michael Ryder also tallied
a goal for the Canadiens, losers in three of four. Alex Kovalev added a tally
on his shootout chance, and Huet also made 31 saves, but could not stop either
Sabres shot in the shootout round.
Buffalo played a spirited opening 20 minutes, but Montreal's defensive
pressure limited the Sabres to just five shots on goal.
That changed in the second, as Novotny poked home the rebound of Maxim
Afinogenov's shot from the slot which handcuffed Huet and bounced off his
pads, giving Buffalo a 1-0 lead at the 6:12 mark.
Montreal drew even on a power play at 9:11, as Ryder followed Souray's
blistering right point drive by sliding the puck home from 15 feet out,
beating Miller who dove in vain to stop the chance.
The Sabres grabbed a 2-1 lead when Roy netted his fifth of the season with
2:15 left in the period, but Souray continued his fantastic season, netting a
power-play tally at 2:52 of the third, tying the game at two.
The shifty defenseman skated from the left point all the way to the faceoff
dot without drawing a single Buffalo defender, and flipped a wrist shot on the
short side under the crossbar.
Each team was credited with 12 shots in the third, and two each in the
overtime, but were not able to stash home a winner until the shootout.
"We battled. We knew it was going to be a tough game right to the
wire, but we came up on the short end," said a dejected Ryder.
Buffalo has won eight of the last ten meetings...The Sabres are 0-for-22 on
the power-play against the Canadiens this season, after going scoreless in
five chances tonight...The Canadiens scored twice in four chances...Sabres
defenseman Teppo Numminen did not dress after suffering a broken toe Thursday
against Florida and will be out indefinitely...rookie defenseman Andrej Sekera
dressed in his place.
12/09 23:13:17 ET