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NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Buffalo

(Friday, February 29th)

Final Score: Montreal 6, Buffalo 2

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Tomas Plekanec posted a hat trick and added an assist to lead Montreal over Buffalo 6-2 at HSBC Arena. With the win, Montreal has jumped over idle Ottawa for first place in the Northeast Division.

Montreal now has 79 points on the season and trails New Jersey, who lost 4-0 to Washington on Friday, by one point for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Carey Price stopped 31-of-33 shots, while Mark Streit, Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei Kostitsyn each lit the lamp for Montreal, which has won six of its last eight games. Alex Kovalev collected four assists in the win.

"We need to stay consistent for the rest of the year," said Price. "That's going to be a key coming into the playoffs. When we play strong defensively I think we're a tough team to beat."

Ryan Miller received the loss after allowing six goals on 33 shots. Thomas Vanek had a goal and an assist and Tim Connolly pitched in with a goal for Buffalo, which has lost three of its last four games.

"Everything was tough, even the penalty they took in the first part of the game, said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "We knew that their power play was good, they did a really good job tonight. They were better than us. They kicked us around a little bit and took advantage of odd number situations. They got behind us, our defense got caught and our forwards didn?t cover up."

While up a man, Vanek blasted a slapshot from the right faceoff circle. The puck sailed high, bounced off the glass and hit the back of Price's helmet and went into the net to cut Montreal's lead to 2-1, just four minutes into the second period.

Montreal answered right back less then two minutes later while on the power play. Kovalev made a cross ice pass to Plekanec who ripped a wrist shot that beat Miller to extend the Canadians lead to 3-1.

The Canadians kept the pressure on, and with 3:10 to go in the second period Montreal scored again. Streit took a wrist shot from the blue line that deflected off of Plekanec's stick and floated over Miller's shoulder for the power play goal.

Early in the third period Andrei Kostitsyn went on a break away, deked Miller and put the puck through his five-hole to extend the Canadians lead to 5-1.

Connolly cut the deficit to three after he received a pass from Vanek and fired the puck past Price with 8:57 left to play.

Sergei Kostitsyn added a goal with 2:28 remaining to seal the win.

While on the power play, Plekanec fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that went over the shoulder of Miller, to open the scoring at the 1:24 mark of the first period.

Streit put Montreal up by two after he picked up a loose puck in front of the net, faked out Miller and put the puck in the top shelf with 9:45 left in the stanza.

Game Notes

Buffalo has allowed at least three goals in seven of its last eight games...Montreal is 23-2-3 when leading after the first period.

02/29 23:43:17 ET

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