Montreal 5 – Buffalo 1
Thursday, April 11, 2013
First Niagara Centre
Three weeks ago, the Buffalo Sabres went into Montreal and humbled the streaking Canadiens twice in a five-day span at the Bell Centre. But with a playoff berth on the line, Montreal returned the favor in dominating fashion on Thursday.
P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist, and Michael Ryder contributed a pair of helpers, as the Canadiens became the third team in the league to clinch a spot in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Sabres at First Niagara Center. Montreal joins Pittsburgh as the Eastern Conference’s second playoff-bound team, along with the Chicago Blackhawks in the West.
Subban, Rene Bourque, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Andrei Markov each scored for the Canadiens, who improved to 26-9-5 with eight games left on their schedule. One season removed from finishing in last place in the Eastern Conference, Montreal now sits second in the East with 57 points, five behind first-place Pittsburgh.
Rookie Brian Flynn scored Buffalo’s only goal in the third period, a shorthanded effort for his fifth of the season. The Sabres missed out on yet another chance to climb into the playoff race, falling to 16-19-6, leaving them at 11th spot in the conference with 37 points – six behind the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff position.
Montreal outshot Buffalo 42-15, and held a commanding 32-11 lead after 40 minutes. Ryan Miller started for Buffalo but was lifted after allowing four goals in the first two periods. Jhonas Enroth came on in relief, and limited the Habs to one goal on 10 shots in the third.
Peter Budaj, who signed a two-year contract extension with Montreal on Wednesday, went the distance in goal for Montreal in a 14-save effort. It was the third time this season that Budaj has only had to make 14 saves in a game – with all three resulting in Montreal victories.
Five of Buffalo’s remaining seven games are on home ice, and they’ll continue this three-game homestand on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 3 p.m. matinee.
1-0 MTL: Tyler Myers' attempted dump in at the Habs blueline takes a bad carom off the glass. Montreal immediately turns the puck back up ice and Rene Bourque finishes off the tic-tac-toe play (6:43)… 2-0 MTL: Michael Ryder digs the puck out from behind the net and rookie Alex Galchenyuk is there to stuff home the rebound. (10:27)… Shots on Goal: Montreal 15 – Buffalo 7
3-0 MTL: Brendan Gallagher comes out from behind the net and sweeps the puck around Miller to the far post. (4:36)… 4-0 MTL: Andrei Markov's point shot is blocked in front by Brian Flynn, but the puck flutters like a wounded butterfly over sprawled Miller. (17:54, PP)… Shots on Goal: Montreal 17 – Buffalo 4
4-1: Brian Flynn gets Buffalo on the board, converting the shorthanded two-on-one with Kevin Porter. (6:45, SH)… 5-1 MTL: P.K. Subban pumps a point blast through a screen for his 11th of the season. (17:19, PP) … Shots on Goal: Montreal 10 – Buffalo 4
Ville Leino missed his sixth straight game with an upper body injury. There is no timetable for his return… Luke Adam was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Winnipeg on Tuesday… John Scott was Buffalo’s only healthy scratch.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Brian Flynn’s shorthanded goal was Buffalo’s seventh of the season, second only to New Jersey’s 11… Buffalo had to kill off eight Montreal power plays, matching their season-high for most in a game… The Sabres have now gone six consecutive games without scoring a power play goal; they are 0-for-19 during this stretch… 258th game all-time between Buffalo and Montreal; the Sabres are 119-102-37 against the Canadiens (69-35-24 at home)
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Tyler Myers, 25:37
Shots: Tyler Ennis, 3
Blocked Shots: Tyler Myers, 4
Hits: Marcus Foligno, 5
Faceoff Wins: Steve Ott, 9
Total Faceoffs: Steve Ott, 17 (9-8)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Opponent Scores First: 4-15-2
Trailing After the First Period: 1-9-1
Trailing After the Second Period: 2-14-2
Outshot by an opponent: 12-13-2
Overall: 17/145, 11.7%
Home: 9/70, 12.9%
Overall: 125/161, 77.6%
Home: 51/67, 76.1%
* Saturday vs. Philadelphia, 3 p.m.
* Sunday vs. Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.
* Wednesday at Boston, 7:30 p.m.