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NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal

(Saturday, January 20th)

Final Score: Montreal 4, Buffalo 3

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Michael Ryder scored the game-winning goal with just 2:53 left in the game as the Montreal Canadiens head into the All- Star break with a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre.

With time winding down in the game, Alexander Perezhogin brought the puck into the Buffalo end along the left wing on a rush. He held off a checker long enough to flick a pass across the ice to Ryder, who redirected it into the net for the final margin.

The Sabres pulled Martin Biron from the net in the final minute, but were unable to net the equalizer.

"I drove to the net and Perezhogin made the pass over to me," said Ryder. "It was good to come up with the win especially after we were up by three goals. It seemed every mistake we made, they capitalized on it. But we managed to stick and battle for the win."

Guillaume Latendresse, Francis Bouillon and Saku Koivu each added a goal for the Canadiens, who have won two straight after a three-game losing streak.

Cristobal Huet made 24 saves for Montreal, which heads into the break with a 27-17-5 mark, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Daniel Briere scored two goals and Biron finished the game with 27 saves for the Sabres, who have dropped four of their past six games.

Buffalo currently has a 33-12-4 record, tops in the Eastern Conference.

"We were down 3-0 and made a good effort to come back," said Biron. We played really well into the second period. We were crashing the net. We could have had some more when it was 3-3, but the puck stayed out and that sucks."

Montreal scored a pair of power-play goals in the first period to assume a 2-0 lead.

Tomas Plekanec dumped the puck into the Buffalo end on a rush. The puck took a weird bounce and came out front where Latendresse poked the disc into the net past an out-of-place Biron just eight minutes in.

In the closing moments of the first, Andrei Markov sent a shot from the left point that went wide of the net. The puck, though, bounced to the right side where Alex Kovalev passed the puck between a defender's legs to Koivu, who tapped the disc into the net with 30 seconds left in the frame.

Huet stopped all 10 shots thrown at him in the opening frame.

Montreal made it a 3-0 game when Bouillon roared in from the left point and from the slot blasted a shot past Biron 4:49 into the second.

Buffalo, though, scored twice in the remainder of the second period to make it a 3-2 contest.

On the rush, Thomas Vanek sent a pass from the high slot to Jason Pominville at the right side. Pominville immediately threw the puck to Briere, who tapped the puck into the open net from the left side at the 9:04 mark.

Later in the frame, Maxim Afinogenov threw a shot on net from a sharp angle at the right side and it hit off the skate of Derek Roy and went past Huet with 3:49 left in the second.

Buffalo tied the game 8:37 into the third period when a shot by Brian Campbell from the high slot was redirected into the net by Briere.

Game Notes

Montreal comes back from the break next Saturday when it plays in Toronto...The Sabres come back from the break next Friday when they play in Columbus...Each team has won three games in the series this season, but Montreal has eight points compared to seven by Buffalo...The goal by Koivu was his first in 11 games...Montreal went 2-for-5 on the power play while Buffalo was held scoreless in its three chances.

01/20 22:27:49 ET

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