It looked very much like two teams headed in opposite directions when the Montreal Canadiens embarrassed the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 at HSBC Arena. Montreal was all over Buffalo all night and used a potent power play to take care of Buffalo. Before the game I mentioned that power play would be the story of the game and it was. Montreal was 3-for-3 on the power play and took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal just 1:24 into the game. The Sabres had no answer for the Canadiens power play all evening.
Thomas Plekanec netted his first career hat trick scoring all three of the power play goals for Montreal. The Habs also received goals from both Andrei and Siarhei Kastsitsyn, Mark Streit had the other goal for Montreal. The victory pushed the Canadiens ahead of Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead. Rookie goalie Carey Price was good for Montreal making 31 saves allowing only two power play goals to Vanek and Connolly.
As for Buffalo they looked like a team that just traded their best defenseman. They will need to bounce back quickly because contrary to Wednesday, when I stated the victory was a confidence builder, this game could do just the opposite. The Sabres allowed eight odd man rushes and their defense looked awful at times. Toni Lydman and Nathan Paetsch were the guys that really stood out to me. Lydman gave the puck away numerous times and Paetsch was often out of position and looked lost. Lindy is going to have to give serious thought to calling up Andrei Sekera and inserting him into the lineup.
There are still 17 games left for Buffalo to make a push to the playoffs but they can ill afford to put out an effort like tonight. I was trying to find one bright spot from tonights game and I couldn't do it. This was truly a team loss because they all looked bad including Ryan Miller who I thought was often out of position despite being put in some bad situations. It was definitely a lost opportunity but they will need to forget about it and learn from the mistakes they made and correct them quickly.
The next game will Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings and yours truly will be in attendance for the first time this season. It will be another 6 o'clock start on a Sunday and will be televised by MSG.