The Sabres came from two goals behind in the third period to edge the Canadiens 5-4 in a shootout Thursday night in Buffalo. Tomas Vanek scored twice in the comeback and added another goal in the shootout. The tieing goal came with 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation time. Also scoring for the Sabres were Steve Ott and Tyler Ennis. Tomas Plekanec scored twice along with Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban recorded the Canadiens goals. It was the Canadiens second straight loss against Northeast Division opposition. The Sabres outshot the Canadiens 40-22.
Random Thoughts –
Self Destruct –With the Canadiens holding a two goal lead Ryan White jumped an unsuspecting Steve Ott and wound up with a double roughing minor. Vanek’s power play goal brought the Sabres back into the game. Needless to say, White didn’t see the ice the rest of the game.
Lesson Unlearned – In Ottawa January 30th Ryan White was handed a double minor penalty in a 1-1 game. The Senators scored two goals while he was sitting in the box and skated on to a 5-1 victory. White now leads the NHL in penalty minutes per game at 6.5 (46 minutes in seven games)
Quick Answers – Plekanec made it 1-0 at 4:11 of the first period. Fifteen seconds later Steve Ott tied the game. At 12:31 of the second period Brendan Gallagher made it 2-1. This time it took 35 seconds to get the goal back.
Budaj – In the early stages of the game Budaj appeared to be uncomfortable and fighting the puck. He probably should have stopped Tyler Ennis’ opening goal. He had a very good second period, especially on a 5-on-3 Buffalo power play when he made excellent saves on Vanek and Stafford. It seems clear however that the Canadiens don’t play the same way in front of Budaj as they do Price.
The Penalty Kill – One thing the Canadiens didn’t in their second game in 24 hours was a steady parade to the penalty box. The Canadiens played shorthanded seven times; a total of 11:14. At one point they were shorthanded five consecutive times. The fifth time, with White in the box, the Sabres finally scored.
The Tieing Goal – The Sabres called time out with 21.7 seconds remaining in regulation time. The Canadiens cleared the puck deep into the Buffalo end with 12 seconds remaining, but instead of pressing the issue they sent one forechecker in, allowing the Sabres to freewheel into the Canadiens end and jam the front of the net. Vanek put the loose puck past Budaj with 1.9 seconds remaining to send it into overtime.
The Shootout – Both Vanek and Jason Pominville scored on Budaj’s glove side. Alex Galchenyuk scored the lone Canadiens shootout goal.
Kayoed – Just past the mid point of the first period Josh Gorges was felled with a forearm smash to the head from the Sabres Tyler Ennis. No penalty on the play. Gorges missed the final nine minutes of the period, presumably sitting it out in a quiet place. He returned in the second period and added 24 shifts to his total.
On the Bright Side – The Canadiens get a point on the road. The Plekanec line was the Canadiens most effective, especially Rene Bourque who had seven shots on goal. The line totaled 14.
Quote of the Night – Ryan White on his costly double minor penalty “Obviously it was just a selfish play. I thought he went kind of low on me and that’s what [Ott] does. He’s a good player at that, he’s smart at what he does out there and, you know, I just kind of reacted the wrong way again obviously and cost my team another two points.”
Next Up – Toronto at the Bell Centre Saturday night. The sixth of six straight games against Northeast Division rivals. So far they are 2-2-1. Overall against the Northeast they have a losing 2-3-1 record including the opening night loss to the Leafs.