Buffalo 3 – Montreal 2 (OT)
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
MONTREAL – Steve Ott scored two goals, including the overtime game winner on the power play, but he summed up Buffalo’s win over Montreal in four words: “Jhonas was awesome tonight.”
Ott was referring to the 32-save performance by backup goalie Jhonas Enroth at the Bell Centre on Tuesday, leading Buffalo to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Canadiens. The win was Enroth’s second in a row – and second of the season – following up on last Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat of the New York Rangers.
The win was Buffalo’s first on the road since February 28 in Florida, and moves their overall record to 11-15-4 (26 pts.). Montreal (19-5-5) saw their five-game winning streak come to an end in the overtime loss, but they are 13-1-4 in their last 18 games
The Sabres staked themselves to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from Ott and Tyler Ennis. But from that point on they were clinging to the lead, rather than building on it. Montreal outshot Buffalo 26-8 over the final 40 minutes, with the constantly-active Enroth at his acrobatic best throughout to keep them in the game.
“We didn’t make anything pretty tonight by any means,” Ott said. “We got up early in the first period, and I think we got a little complacent on it, sitting back. We need to find a way to keep pushing the game ahead.”
Montreal finally broke through in the third period with Max Pacioretty and Colby Armstrong evening the score at 2-2. With momentum and the raucous home crowd clearly in their favor, Montreal threatened to end it late but Enroth would have nothing of it, saving his biggest save of the night for last.
Canadiens’ captain Brian Gionta found himself all alone in the slot late in the third, and unleashed a shot that was ticketed for the back of the net. That’s when Enroth’s outstretched left glove hand caught the blast before it could dent the twine. Gionta even engaged in a premature celebration when he started to raise his stick, before realizing that Enroth had snared the shot.
“I saw him coming from the far post, and I saw the puck the whole way,” explained Enroth. “I don’t think he even got that good of a shot off. I think that was a really good save.”
Buffalo lost leading scorer Thomas Vanek to a lower body injury when he was hit in the leg with a slapshot in second period. Vanek did not return to the game, and interim head coach Ron Rolston said he will be evaluated further on Wednesday in Buffalo.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Ville Leino picked up an assist on Ennis’ goal, giving him 100 career points… The two-goal game was Steve Ott’s first as a Sabre… Ott also becomes the fourth Sabres player in a row to record a two-goal game, joining Marcus Foligno, Drew Stafford and Cody Hodgson… 256th game all-time between Buffalo and Montreal; the Sabres are 118-101-37 against the Canadiens; 49-67-13 on the road... the Sabres have more wins against the Canadiens (118) than any other franchise; they have 116 against the Bruins.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 26:48
Shots: Steve Ott, 3
Blocked Shots: Mike Weber, 6
Hits: Robyn Regehr, 3
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 8
Total Faceoffs: Cody Hodgson, 14 (8-6)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Scoring First: 8-4-3
Leading after the first period: 4-2-1
Leading after the second period: 4-0-2
Outshot by an opponent: 9-10-1
Overall: 13/108, 12.0%
Road: 6/56, 10.7%
Overall: 93/118, 78.8%
Road: 61/76, 80.3%
* Thursday vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
* Saturday @ Montreal, 7 p.m.
* Tuesday @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.