NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal
(Saturday, March 28th)
Final Score: Buffalo 4, Montreal 3 (SO)
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Toni Lydman scored the only goal of the shootout, as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Montreal Canadiens, 4-3, to tighten the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Montreal's Carey Price were stellar in keeping the puck out of the net through the first five rounds of the shootout. Lydman was the 11th shooter, and his low shot sneaked through Price to give the Sabres the advantage. Miller then turned aside Maxim Lapierre's shot to seal the win.
With the win, Buffalo moved slightly closer to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal holds the eighth spot with 86 points, while the 10th-place Sabres have 82. Between the two clubs is Florida, which is in ninth with 85 points after beating Dallas on Saturday.
"We'd love to have had two points, that extra point there," Montreal's Saku Koivu said. "But Buffalo was in the same situation. It was do-or-die for them. Carey made some great saves to help us get that point, but we couldn't get that one goal in the shootout."
Tim Connolly finished with a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which has won three in a row. Adam Mair and Clarke MacArthur also scored for the Sabres, while Miller made 32 saves.
"I was a little bit disappointed in the second period," Miller said. "I had to pull a bit tighter and be there for the boys. We stayed calm, and knew what had to be done, and I think the guys reacted well. Maybe we're growing up, who knows."
Alex Kovalev scored twice for Montreal, and Christopher Higgins added the other goal. Price stopped 34 shots for the Canadiens, whose two-game win streak was snapped.
In a chippy first period, Buffalo took the lead with 2:25 left. Jochen Hecht fired the puck from the left circle just slightly right of the net, directly at Mair, who tipped the puck past Price.
Then, 2:36 into the second period, Connolly's point blast on the power play made it a 2-0 game.
But Montreal countered with three consecutive goals to take the lead. Higgins got the Canadiens on the board at 7:58, and Kovalev tied the game with 7:27 remaining.
Montreal then took the lead with 4:46 remaining in the middle frame, after a costly Buffalo penalty. Hecht had a breakaway into the Montreal zone, but Andrei Markov followed and made a nice defensive play to knock the puck away from Hecht's stick. Shortly after, Hecht shoved Markov and earned a cross checking minor, putting Montreal on the power play.
Only 10 seconds into the man advantage, Kovalev scored. Mathieu Schneider delivered a nice pass from the high slot near the right post for Kovalev, who kicked the puck from his right skate to the stick and sent it past Miller for a 3-2 lead.
But MacArthur evened the game only 3:58 into the third period, and it stayed a 3-3 game for the rest of regulation.
Montreal fell to 23-8-7 at home...Buffalo improved to 15-17-5 on the road...The Sabres won the season series, 4-1-1, and snapped a three-game losing streak in Montreal...Buffalo plays at Atlanta on Wednesday...Montreal hosts Chicago on Tuesday.
03/28 23:49:56 ET