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NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal

(Thursday, April 3rd)

Final Score: Montreal 3, Buffalo 1

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Bryan Smolinski scored two goals, as the Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Buffalo Sabres from playoff contention with a 3-1 victory at the Bell Centre.

Chris Higgins also lit the lamp for the Canadiens, who clinched the Northeast Division on Tuesday, their first division crown in 16 years.

Carey Price stopped 27-of-28 shots to earn his 23rd win of the season.

"It feels good to contribute," Smolinski said. "It's always nice to score, it's been a while."

Montreal, with 102 points, tied idle Pittsburgh for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday in their regular-season finale, while the Penguins close out their season Sunday in Philadelphia.

Ales Kotalik tallied for the Sabres, who became the first team to win the Presidents' Trophy one season and miss the postseason the next since the New York Rangers sat out the playoffs in 1992-93. The Presidents' Trophy is awarded to the club that finishes the regular season with the best overall record.

Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 25 shots in defeat.

"It's been that way every night," Miller said about the magnitude of the game. "We knew it for the last month. You have to get off to a good start, which we didn't do this season."

The Canadiens opened the scoring on the power play, as Higgins redirected Mark Streit's shot from the point in behind Miller with 8:32 remaining in the first period. Smolinski lit the lamp 40 seconds later to give Montreal a 2-0 lead.

Smolinski's wrister from the high slot made its way through traffic and found room on the stick side of Miller with 5:32 remaining in the second.

Buffalo finally solved Price with 8:30 to play in the third on Kotalik's 23rd goal of the season, but it was not enough for the Sabres, who will miss the postseason for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.

Game Notes

Derek Roy registered an assist on Kotalik's marker to extend his points streak to a career-high 11 games. Roy has amassed five goals and 13 helpers over that span...Buffalo will complete its schedule Saturday at Boston...Buffalo finished 1-for-5 on the power play. Montreal went 1-for-4.

04/04 02:03:23 ET

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