NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal
(Saturday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Montreal 3, Buffalo 0
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves to pick up his second shutout in as many days, as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 3-0, at Bell Centre.
Halak, who stopped 35 shots in a 1-0 win over the Flyers on Friday, collected his fifth shutout of the season Saturday for the Canadiens, who hold the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Montreal has 86 points and remained two points ahead of Boston, which beat Toronto in overtime.
Sergei Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist, while Tom Pyatt and Ryan O'Byrne also lit the lamp for the victors.
"I think the team in front of me played even batter than last night," Halak said. "It was back-to-back games and we knew it was going to be tough because they (Buffalo) didn't have a game last night. I was hoping to win this game but the shutout makes it better."
Ryan Miller turned aside 35-of-38 shots for the Sabres, who failed to capitalize on a chance to win their first Northeast Division title since 2006-07. After the Senators lost 4-1 to the Islanders earlier Saturday, Buffalo needed just a victory to wrap up the division. They continue to hold a five-point edge over Ottawa.
The Sabres sit third in the East with 96 points, one point behind both New Jersey and Pittsburgh.
O'Byrne's first goal of the year put Montreal on the board at the 12:03 mark of the first period. His shot from the right point beat traffic in front and snuck through the legs of Miller.
The Canadiens lit the lamp at the 2:41 mark of the second to make it 2-0. A shot from Maxim Lapierre resulted in a rebound in front for Pyatt, who chipped the disc into the back of the net.
Kostitsyn gave Montreal a three-goal cushion at the 6:37 mark of the third. While being checked from behind, Kostitsyn fired a wrist shot from the slot that settled under the crossbar.
Halak followed up a 13-save first period with eight saves in each of the final two frames.
"There were patches of good energy but you have to gave Montreal some credit. They came hard and they outskated us. It's tough," Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff said.
Buffalo still won the season series with Montreal, 4-2...Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (flu-like symptoms) missed the game...Sabres forwards Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly both missed the contest with lower-body injuries...Vanek has sat out the last four games, while Connolly has missed the last five.
04/04 00:08:17 ET