The puck was dropped after a brief presentation for the Sabres 40th anniversary. The highlight of the presentation was when Henri “the Pocket Rocket” Richard came out to a very nice ovation for the ceremonial puck drop. The two teams came out looking sluggish to start the period as we have seen so often when there is any kind of presentation before a game. Each team split hooking penalties at the half way point of the period with Montreal having the closest chance when Tomas Plekanec missed an open net on the back hand. Roman Hamrlik then took a nasty blindsided hit from Paul Gaustad once he exited the penalty box but the refs did not call a penalty, luckily Hamrlik seemed uninjured on the play. The period had a slow pace with both teams creating minimal scoring chances on either end until the last minute of the period where we saw Buffalo force Carey Price to make back to back saves after Montreal missed an opportunity in the Sabres zone seconds before keeping the game scoreless after one.
The second started with Alexandre Picard’s first goal of the season after the puck changed directions in an odd way and managed to deflect off of Defenceman Chris Butler. Lars Eller may have played a vital role in this goal by creating a big distraction in front of the net. The goal created more energy for the period as we saw both teams come close forcing the goalies at both ends to make key saves. Ryan Miller came up big when he robbed Lars Eller on what seemed to be a sure goal. At 17:35 of the period Steve Montador took a boarding penalty which led to Montreal finally scoring a power play goal on their 3rd attempt of the night. This was also their first power play goal of the season. The goal was scored when Josh Georges shot the puck from the point and it deflected off Tim Connolly's stick to beat Miller. Buffalo would follow this up with another flurry to finish the period but were still unable to bury the biscuit.
Montreal came out to another strong start in the 3rd when Brian Gionta just missed the top corner in the 1st minute of the period. Buffalo followed up with a goal at 3:26 of the period after Thomas Vanek neatly kicked the puck to Drew Stafford who took a shot but the puck eventually made its way to Derek Roy who had enough time to bury it in the net after fanning on his first attempt. This all occurred while multiple players were tied up with Price making it impossible for the Montreal goalkeeper to get into position. Later in the period Moen made an excellent pass to Gomez on a 2 on 1 that was stopped by Miller to keep the Sabres in the game. The stop, once again, rallied the Sabres and they ended up creating an opportunity for a 2 on 0 but Vanek was unable to get a shot off on Price.
With just a little more than 5 minutes to go in the game Price made another great glove save on Mike Grier while his defence cleared the puck out of danger. With two minutes remaining in the game, Price almost gave the lead away when he went to clear the puck from the back of his net but it seemed to roll off his stick towards a Buffalo player. Price managed to correct his mistake by aggressively poke checking the puck away to save a goal. Buffalo attempted to pull their goalie to try and get the extra man but a strong effort by Plekanec and company kept Miller in his net until referees stopped the play when it appeared that they thought the sabres had too many men on the ice with only 4 seconds to go. Following some discussions with the players and other officials on the ice, the Refs declared that there was no penalty on the play as they seemed to determine that the extra player was on the ice in exchange for Miller. Coach Ruff didn't enjoy the game-stoppage and responded by standing on the bench waving his hands around and sent his grinders on the ice to end the game. There was a short scuffle that was broken up quickly once the buzzer rang and Montreal went on to celebrate its 2-1 victory.
HiD Three Stars
- Ryan Miller
- Carey Price
- Andrei Kostitsyn
HiD Turning Point
Montreal took only one penalty in the whole game allowing them to protect the lead.