NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal|
(Monday, November 5th)
Final Score: Montreal 2, Buffalo 0
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Cristobal Huet saved all 29 shots he saw as
the Montreal Canadiens concluded a four-game homestand with a 2-0 victory over
the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre.
Tomas Plekanec broke a scoreless game in the second period, and Huet made the
one-goal lead stand up despite the fact that his team was outshot 29-19 for
the game. Bryan Smolinski notched an empty-netter to provide a late insurance
tally, as the Canadiens won for the fourth straight time over the Sabres in
Huet logged his first shutout of the season and the 14th of his career.
"The coach gave me confidence tonight to play well and help the team win," the
goaltender said afterward. "I didn't have a good showing on Saturday (in a 3-2
loss to Toronto.) The team played well in front of me tonight, took care of a
lot of rebounds. We didn't have a lot of shots in the last five minutes but we
played very strong defensively when the score was tight."
Ryan Miller saved 17 of the 18 shots he faced in net for Buffalo, but the
Sabres went 0-for-2 on the power play and failed to capitalize during an
otherwise dominant first period, on their way to a third consecutive loss.
Buffalo outshot the Canadiens 16-8 in the opening period, but couldn't
capitalize on its many scoring chances, including two power play opportunities
Huet and Miller traded saves through most of the second period as well, and
the game remained scoreless until Plekanec finally lit the lamp on a 2-on-1
rush at 13:04. Andrei Kastsitsyn brought the puck down the right wing with
Plekanec to his left, dished past the defender, and Plekanec slid the puck
through Miller's pads for the 1-0 advantage.
"I saw the pass go wide," Miller said of the difference-making goal. "He made
the adjustment and I made the adjustment midway through, to make the edge set
down, but I got twisted out, went back, and tried to get myself steeled up. I
was just trying to beat him to the back side. I don't know what kinds of shot
he got off. He may have changed to the backhand and kept it going."
Montreal's defensive dominance continued in the third, as the Canadiens
maintained the tenuous one-goal lead despite being outshot 9-2. The game was
finally iced with 22 seconds remaining when Andrei Markov picked up a loose
puck off a Sabres turnover and passed ahead to Smolinski, who converted a
3-on-1 break with the empty-net goal.
"(Huet) played great for us," Canadiens forward Saku Koivu said. "We started
slowly but he kept us in the game. We just couldn't get the goals that we
wanted to put the game away. There were a couple of close ones in the third,
but Huet saved them and was big for us tonight. It's a good sign, and I'm
sure he was happy with the way he played after Saturday. It was fun to watch
because those two points for us were real big."
Buffalo has allowed the first goal in 10 consecutive games...Montreal has won
five of its last eight overall versus the Sabres...Montreal is 4-2-2 at home
this season, and will now begin a four-game road swing that includes another
meeting with the Sabres in Buffalo, November 16.
11/05 23:26:45 ET