Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres Instant Reactions

The Buffalo Sabres pull out a 5-4 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

The Buffalo Sabres pulled out an unlikely win over the Montreal Canadiens, with team MVP Thomas Vanek scoring the game winning goal with two seconds left to go. Here are my thoughts on the game by period.

1st Period

- The Buffalo Sabres didn't look great through much of the first period against Montreal. The offensive flow was lacking in the first half of the period and the defense was struggling to get the puck from tape to tape. The Canadiens out shot the Sabres 13-10 in the period and many of those Sabres shots came on their power play.

- Of course Tomas Plekanec would score a goal against the Buffalo Sabres. Heading into tonight, he has 25 points in 47 career games against the Sabres. The goal wasn't anything spectacular but what seemed more like a blown save by Miller. Tyler Myers was the lone defender back, but he played to take away the pass and allowed Miller to have a clear shot at the puck which he whiffed at.

- The Sabres were able to answer right back with a Steve Ott goal 15 seconds later. Nice work by Hecht on the goal to dig the puck out along the boards and find an open Ott in front of the net.

- Ryan Miller has not looked great thus far in the game. The misplay on the goal was discussed above but overall Miller has been giving up some weird rebounds.

- The Sabres lone power play in the first looked like a train wreck. In the first four entries, the puck was automatically cleared twice and the team put themselves offsides the other two times. But, three offensive zone faceoff wins gave the Sabres some life and they eventually got three shots on goal with the extra attacker. They couldn't convert on it though.

- The physicality is still here though. Ennis had a legal hit on Josh Gorges that caught him squarely in the chest and Foligno had a nice hit on Markov later in the period. That was one thing though that no one was really asking where it went in the last couple of games.

2nd Period

- Unlike the 1st period, the Sabres definitely got some offensive chances in the second period. The Sabres had 10 shots on goal in the first twenty minutes and they matched that total nine minutes into the second period. They finished the period with 18 shots on goal. Many of those offensive chances went by the wayside though as they couldn't convert on their own five on three and went 0 for 4 on the power play in the period.

- The Canadiens could though as PK Subban gave Montreal the lead heading out of the period with a blast of a one-timer shot. The Sabres had numerous chances to try and cover the puck up to try and kill some of the momentum the Habs had on the five on three, but just couldn't seem to either grab the puck long enough or just clear it down the ice.

- Before the five on three power play goal though, the Sabres and Canadiens traded goals 35 seconds apart earlier in the period. Brendan Gallagher scored first for the Canadiens on a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. Tyler Ennis would go pretty much the length of the ice to score the equalizer on Peter Budaj.

- Drew Stafford has four shots on goal in this game, with two coming in the second period. He still looks lost with the puck at times and when he does get it on net, nothing seems to want to go in for him. Stafford was fourth on the team heading into the game with 27 shots.

3rd Period/Overtime

- Tomas Plekanec scored his second goal of the game within the first minute of the period. For Ryan Miller, it was goal that he would like back as the puck hit him and just flipped past him. Miller was not at the top of his game as many pucks seem to beat him high on the night.

- The Sabres finally converted on a power play as Thomas Vanek got the first of his night. Steve Ott is the unsung hero by drawing that four minute power play on Ryan White. White didn't like how Ott hit him and instantly dropped his gloves to start a fight with Ott. Ott didn't bite on the fight, took a few punches, and got the power play.

- After a lackluster final minute and a half, the Sabres somehow miraculously got themselves a point with Thomas Vanek pushing the puck through Peter Budaj in a mass of people in the crease. It all seems reminiscent of the goal they scored on April 3rd against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

- After an uneventful four on four overtime, the Sabres were actually successful on their first overtime of the season. Vanek and Pominville scored for the Sabres and it gives the team their first shootout win since March 10th against the Ottawa Senators. The win gives the Sabres their first win of the season in six games after trailing in the second period. They are now 4-6-1 on the season and slowly crawling back up the standings.


- Lindy Ruff on the win "We knew we had to keep grinding away at it. We've been finding ways to lose and we found a way to win. That's a big positive. I thought the effort by the guys in the paint with a few seconds left there was pretty impressive."

- Steve Ott on the penalty "I was trying to be physical and he thought I wanted to engage. The power play went to work right way which was awesome. Vanek has been solid for us and yet again he finds a way."

- Thomas Vanek on the game winner "We said we needed more pucks and more bodies [in front of the net] and there were plenty of bodies in there and we found a way to get it in."