NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal
(Saturday, December 20th)
Final Score: Montreal 4, Buffalo 3 (OT)
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Alex Kovalev scored the game-winner with 25 seconds left in overtime, and the Montreal Canadiens rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Bell Centre.
Sergei Kostitsyn scored twice, while Alex Tanguay tallied for Montreal, which has won two straight on the heels of a three-game skid. Jaroslav Halak allowed three goals on 34 shots in the win.
"Not all games are going to be easy games, but those games you have to win," Kovalev said. "(When you win) games like that, the team confidence goes up by playing 60 minutes."
Andrej Sekera, Derek Roy and Clarke MacArthur scored for the Sabres, who had a three-game road win streak snapped. Jason Pominville picked up his 17th assist, and Ryan Miller made 42 saves in the loss.
The Canadiens got a power play quickly in the extra session, but Buffalo killed it off successfully. Montreal's Robert Lang then appeared to score the game-winner with two minutes left, but the official ruled that the net was dislodged before the goal was scored.
Montreal got a second power play in overtime with just under 40 seconds left, and Kovalev got in close to the net and fired a wrister past Miller to notch the victory with just 25 seconds on the clock.
"(Kovalev) hit me right in my shoulder, and it skipped out of my jersey," Miller said. "One inch higher and it would be just up in the air. An inch higher, and it hits the crossbar. It catches enough of my jersey to skip over the top of my shoulder."
Tied at one in the second, Buffalo went in front right after a power play ended. Pominville one-timed a pass across the middle to MacArthur, who redirected the puck past Halak for the go-ahead goal at 15:21.
Tanguay's tip-in off a Roman Hamrlik wrister 3 1/2 minutes into the third helped the Canadiens forge a 2-2 tie.
But Buffalo responded once again with the man advantage, as Sekera's slapshot from the point found its way through numerous players and past Halak's left shoulder for the goal, and the Sabres lead, at 13:20.
However, Montreal had an answer of its own. Kovalev stole the puck in the offensive zone and directed it toward Miller, who made the initial save. But Kostitsyn blasted the rebound into the net to tie the game again with 4:54 left to play, and to send the game to overtime.
"We were winning battles and you could see that they were dropping in energy," said Canadiens forward Steve Begin. "We just kept pushing and pushing them, and that's how we got the two points tonight."
Roy made a terrific move halfway through the first period to give Buffalo the lead. Streaking down the right side of the ice, Roy quickly went to his left to use a Montreal defenseman as a screen, wristing the shot past Halak's glove for the goal at 9:10.
Montreal equalized the game in the second on a 5-on-3 power play. After a lot of passing to find the open shot, Kostitsyn blasted a slapshot from the point past Miller at 5:17.
The Canadiens lead the season series, 2-0-1...Buffalo's Thomas Vanek went goal-less and is now tied for the league lead in goals with Philadelphia's Jeff Carter with 24...Montreal has won five of the past six with Buffalo...The Sabres are now 3-4 in overtime, while the Canadiens are 5-5...Montreal's Andrei Markov had two assists, bringing his season total to 21.
12/20 23:04:49 ET