Game 17: Grand Larceny In Montreal

Can’t say that I was impressed by the overall effort tonight, but Buffalo played a good 3rd and OT period and came away with two points, defeating Montreal 3-2 in the shootout and moving back into 1st place in the Northeast Division.

1st Period: Buffalo had a much better defensive effort than they did last game during this period. Mike Weber didn’t look out of place, despite only playing one game coming into tonight. Their offense left much to be desired though. The Sabres had one decent scoring chance when Kaleta drove to the net with the puck. Montreal had more success establishing possession and generating shots on Enroth who made a few really nice saves during the period. As far as special teams go, Erik Cole got behind Leopold and Regehr and drew a penalty, but then Pominville negated the penalty with a strong fore-check on the PK, drawing a tripping penalty. Both teams did nothing with their power play time. Neither team would score during this period, so it was 0-0 going into the 2nd.

2nd Period: It was the same story on offense for Buffalo during this period. The top-6 forwards on the team were invisible and the bottom-6 forwards had some good jump to start the period. No real offense to speak of, even when they were on the power play. Meanwhile, the Canadiens managed to strike twice in 2nd. The first goal was on the power play that Canadiens got thanks to a stupid roughing penalty by Gaustad (he would take another dumb penalty for slashing later on). Jordan Leopold made a horrible clearing attempt and Montreal managed to maintain possession. To add insult to injury, three Buffalo PKers were caught along the boards which opened up plenty of ice for the Canadiens to move the puck around and the puck eventually got to Erik Cole who shot it into the open net. Around the 14-minute mark, the puck made it’s way into the Sabres’ zone around the hash marks and there was a lot of fumbling around between Regehr, Weber, Cole, and Desharnais. No one got a handle on it and the puck squirted out to a wide-open Max Pacioretty who had an easy tap-in. Overall, it was a lackluster two periods for Buffalo who found themselves trailing 2-0 going into the 3rd.

3rd Period: The Sabres finally decided to show up. Lindy juggled the lines and swapped D-pairings. Roy was playing with Vanek and Pominville and Adam was playing with Leino and Stafford. The D-pairings were Ehrhoff-Leopold, Sekera-Gragnani, and Regehr-Weber. The line switch paid dividends right away. Vanek had a great forecheck and got the puck to Roy who fed it Pominville for the one-timer into the net. Later on, Derek Roy made a nice move on a delayed penalty call to score on Price’s five-hole to tie the game at two. Buffalo severely curtailed Montreal’s chances in the 3rd.  The only time they generated much was during their power plays they had because of another dumb Gaustad penalty and a Luke Adam slash. The score would remain tied and we had overtime in Montreal.

OT: Both teams would have power play opportunities during the period. Buffalo got theirs after Erik Cole ran into Enroth and Montreal got one because of a Pacioretty dive that the refs bought hook, line, and sinker. Neither team would score on their power play chances though, so they had to go to the shootout to determine a winner.

Shootout: Montreal would shoot first and Tomas Plekanec was stoned by Enroth who stood his ground and didn’t bite. Vanek went next for Buffalo who just casually sniped Price. Max Pacioretty tied up the score by beating Enroth between the legs. Brad Boyes would change all of that by deking Price out of his pads and just sliding the puck into the net. It was up to Gionta to extend the shootout, but Enroth denied him with a glove-save and helped give Buffalo the extra point.

Quick-hit time:

-Buffalo cleaned a lot of things up defensively and Mike Weber had a lot to do with that. He was 2nd among Sabres defensemen with 22:14 of TOI which included 5:18 played on the PK. Only Jordan Leopold had more with 24:22 TOI. There’s no way he comes out next game. Myers will probably come back in for Gragnani.

-I think Vanek-Roy-Pominville has earned an extended look as a line. They were flat-out dominate in the 3rd period.

-Adam, Leino, and Stafford were invisible.

-Wasn’t a fan of Regehr or Leopold’s games tonight, but everyone’s entitled to an off game once in awhile.

-Enroth had a great game in his debut role as the interim starting goalie.

-Gaustad almost negated the great play he provided with three dumb penalties. Thankfully, Montreal only made him and the team pay for it once.

-Erik Cole’s damn lucky he did what he did in OT. There was no way any Sabres player was going to go after him in that spot.

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo-  Pominville (Roy), Roy (Vanek), Vanek (Shootout), Boyes (Shootout)

Montreal- Cole (Subban, Pacioretty), Pacioretty (Desharnais, Cole), Pacioretty (Shootout)

Power Play:

Buffalo: 0-for-4

Montreal: 1-for-6

Scoring Per Period

1

2

3

OT

S/O

Total

Buffalo

0

0

2

0

2

3

Montreal

0

2

0

0

1

2

Shots On Goal

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

6

13

10

3

32

Montreal

10

10

4

3

27

Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo

28

9

4

35

14

Montreal

22

16

1

29

10

Game Summary

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