The Buffalo Sabres were defeated by the Montreal Canadiens in their season-series finale 7-4, and thus were officially eliminted from playoff contention.
Buffalo entered the game looking to mathematically stay alive in the playoff race. With a regulation loss, the Sabres would have been eliminated from the playoffs, again.
About midway through the first period, Sam Reinhart scored his 19th goal of the season to give Buffalo the 1-0 lead. The play started with a nice zone entry from Brandon Montour and then finished with a nice passing play between Casey Mittelstadt and Reinhart.
The Sabres were able to withstand a late push from the Canadiens to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Goaltender Carter Hutton was solid for Buffalo, turning away all 12 shots he faced.
After a relatively event-less first period, the Sabres were in for a wild second period. Four minutes in, Artturi Lehkonen scored on a cross-ice feed from Andrew Shaw to tie the game at one.
Midway through the second period, Canadiens forward Phillip Danault was able to make a diving pass to Brendan Gallagher who scored to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. The goal happened after a defensive zone turnover from Rasmus Dahlin, who was trying to get around Danault.
The Canadiens weren’t done pouring it on, however. With just over five minutes left in the second period, Shaw scored to give Montreal a 3-1 lead.
Less than a minute after the Canadiens goal, Alex Nylander scored his second goal of the season on the power play to bring Buffalo within one goal of the lead. Nylander has played well since his recall, scoring two goals in his last two games and four points in his six games this season with the Sabres.
More goals, you say? Yes, more goals. Just minutes later, the Sabres were able to tie the game at three on Marco Scandella’s fifth goal of the season.
The back and forth would continue. With two minutes left in the period, Paul Byron redirected a pass with his skate into the Buffalo net, giving the Canadiens a 4-3 lead and the advantage heading into the third period.
About halfway through the third period, Montreal would regain their two goal lead. Gallagher fired a shot from just outside the Buffalo goal crease to give the Canadiens a 5-3 lead.
The door remained open for a Sabres comeback later in the third. Jack Eichel scored just after a Buffalo power play expired, bringing the score to 5-4.
However, that door would be slammed shut with just under five minutes left in the game. After a Zemgus Girgensons penalty, Canadiens forward Max Domi scored a power-play goal to put Montreal up 6-4.
The Canadiens would add an empty net goal to put the final score at 7-4.
Final Score: Canadiens 7, Sabres 4.
Shots on Goal: Canadiens 44, Sabres 27
Sabres Goal Scorers: Sam Reinhart (19th), Alex Nylander (2nd), Marco Scandella (5th), Jack Eichel (26th)
Canadiens Goal Scorers: Artturi Lehkonen (9th), Brendan Gallagher (32nd), Andrew Shaw (18th), Paul Byron (14th), Brendan Gallagher (33rd), Max Domi (26th), Tomas Tatar (23rd)
Three Stars of the Game
- Brendan Gallagher (2 G, 1 A)
- Max Domi (1 G, 2 A)
- Tomas Tatar (1 G, 2 A)