Buffalo 2 – Montreal 1
Saturday, March 23, 2013
MONTREAL – The Buffalo Sabres ventured into the Bell Centre for the second time in five days, and once again left with two valuable points. Thomas Vanek scored twice in his return from injury, and Ryan Miller made 38 saves, as the Sabres extended their winning streak to a season-high three games with 2-1 victory over the Canadiens.
The game was scoreless for the first 30 minutes, but Buffalo finally broke through on the power play at 10:25 of the second period. Christian Ehrhoff’s point shot was tipped in front by Vanek, marking the fourth straight game the Sabres have scored with the man advantage.
Vanek sent the Sabres to the second intermission with a 2-0 lead when he snuck in down low behind defenseman Josh Gorges to convert the pass from Tyler Ennis for his 16th of the season at 19:21. The Sabres are now 4-0-2 this season when holding a lead after 40 minutes.
Montreal outshot Buffalo 16-5 in the third period, with Michael Ryder’s redirect of an Andrei Markov shot at 8:17 being the only shot to elude Miller all night. Miller made several key saves throughout the game to preserve the win, highlighted by a late stop on Brian Gionta. The Canadiens attempted 85 total shots on Miller, including 31 blocked shots by the Sabres. Mike Weber led Buffalo with eight blocks – while the entire Montreal roster combined for just nine.
Buffalo improves to 13-5-4 (30 pts.) with the win, moving them into 10th spot in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind eighth-place Carolina. The loss was just Montreal’s third in regulation at home in 16 games this season, dropping them to 20-6-5 overall.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Buffalo’s last three-game winning streak was part of a five-game run from March 19-27, 2012… Dating back to last season, Thomas Vanek now has 44 points (18+26) in his last 37 games… Tyler Ennis extended his point streak to four games (2+4) with an assist on Vanek’s second goal… 257th game all-time between Buffalo and Montreal; the Sabres are 119-101-37 against the Canadiens; 50-67-13 on the road.
Drew Stafford was a healthy scratch for the first time this season… Andrej Sekera missed his fourth straight game with an upper body injury. He is expected back in the lineup this week in Florida… John Scott was also a healthy scratch.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 23:51
Shots: Cody Hodgson/Nathan Gerbe, 3
Blocked Shots: Mike Weber, 8
Hits: Steve Ott, 4
Faceoff Wins: Steve Ott, 10
Total Faceoffs: Cody Hodgson, 18 (8-10)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Scoring First: 9-4-3
Tied after the first period: 8-6-3
Leading after the second period: 5-0-2
Outshot by an opponent: 10-10-1
Overall: 14/111, 12.6%
Road: 7/59, 11.9%
Overall: 97/125, 77.6%
Road: 63/79, 79.7%
* Tuesday @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
* Thursday @ Florida, 7:30 p.m.
* Saturday vs. Washington, 7 p.m.