NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Montreal
(Saturday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Montreal 6, Buffalo 3
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Pierre Dagenais scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-3 win over Buffalo in the regular season finale for both teams at the Bell Centre.
Michael Ryder scored and had two assists, as the Canadiens snapped a five-game losing streak. Montreal clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture by increasing its lead to three games over the idle New York Islanders.
"It will be interesting either way," Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray said of the Canadiens first round matchup between either Toronto or Boston. "If it's Toronto, it's great for hockey, but it's the same if it's Boston. It'll be exciting and physical hockey and a great series either way."
Jim Dowd, Richard Zednik and Steve Begin also lit the lamp for the Canadiens.
Jose Theodore earned the win in net by stopping 24 shots, including 21 in the final two periods.
Brian Campbell, Daniel Briere and Jean-Pierre Dumont each scored for the Sabres, who lost their second straight. Mike Noronen stopped 33 of the 39 shots he faced in defeat.
"We were eliminated, so it was tough to get up for the game," said Briere, whose team was eliminated from the playoff race on Friday night. "We gave it a good run and came up just short."
With Montreal's win, the teams split the six-game season series with three victories apiece.
Dagenais got the goal scoring started with the game's first two markers. The Montreal forward's first goal came 5:12 into the contest on a slap shot from the left circle that beat Noronen stick side.
Dagenais' second goal came 3:58 later as he skated onto the doorstep, where he took a pass from Ryder and wristed it under Noronen's blocker. It was Dagenais' 16th and 17th goals of the campaign.
Montreal went ahead 3-0 at the 2:11 mark of the second period on Dowd's slap shot from the top of the right circle.
The Sabres finally got on the board 28 seconds later on Campbell's marker, but Zednik gave the Canadiens a three-goal edge at the 3:47 mark on a snap shot from between the circles.
Briere pulled Buffalo within 4-2 with just 4:44 to go in the frame, as he wristed a rebound attempt off of a Dumont shot past Theodore.
Ryder, who assisted on both of Dagenais' goals, made it 5-2 Montreal 4:45 into the third period, as he skated in between the circles with the puck and wristed it under Noronen's left pad for the goal. It gave the rookie forward 63 points on the season, which leads all first-year players in the league.
Buffalo got back within two goals at 5-3 at the 11:54 mark of the period on Dumont's goal, but Begin scored the contest's final tally just seven seconds later.
The Canadiens have won eight of their last 11 home games.
Buffalo fell to 2-16-1 when trailing after one period this season...The Sabres had won two straight in the series before the loss...The Canadiens concluded their home record this season with a 23-13-4-1 mark.
04/03 23:42:14 ET