Habs fall short in Buffalo
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Jason Pominville scored a power-play goal 1:09 into overtime lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the injury-depleted Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
The Canadiens played much of the game minus two forwards. Max Pacioretty was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons after being struck in the right side by a teammate's shot early in the first period. Montreal also lost Michael Cammalleri to an upper body injury, after he was cross-checked from behind by Buffalo's Mike Weber early in the first period.
| Habs first period injuries
Tyler Ennis had a goal and assist and Thomas Vanek had two assists for Buffalo, which snapped a four-game losing streak against the Canadiens, dating to last season.
A chippy and entertaining game between Northeast Division rivals was decided with a power-play goal after Scott Gomez was penalized for high-sticking Nathan Gerbe in the final minute. After being slashed from behind by Gerbe, Gomez retaliated by wheeling around with his stick hand and hitting Gerbe across the face.
Ennis set up the decisive goal by driving up the right side and feeding Vanek, who skated toward the net and fed a blind pass into the slot, where Pominville one-timed it in past Price.
The Canadiens still managed to register a point for the eighth time in nine games (6-1-2) despite losing both forwards in the first five minutes.
Pacioretty was hurt 4:15 in, when he was parked in front of the Sabres' net and hit James Wisniewski's shot from the blue line. Conscious and hooked to an IV, he was wheeled in a stretcher to a waiting ambulance during the first intermission.
Cammalleri was hurt 45 seconds earlier and did not return after being crosschecked to the back of the neck by Sabres defenseman Mike Weber. TSN reported that Cammalleri - the Canadiens' second-leading scorer this season - had separated his shoulder.
Weber was issued a 2-minute minor penalty, which led to Desharnais' goal.
Price was brilliant in holding the fort as the Canadiens were losing steam playing on consecutive nights and down two forwards, three if you include center Jeff Halpern, who had limited playing time after he went to the locker room on several occasions in the first period
Price stopped Jochen Hecht set up in front on a 2-on-1 break midway through the first period. And he then took over in the third period when it became apparent the Habs were running on fumes.
Price kicked out his left pad to foil Nathan Gerbe's snap shot directly off a faceoff to the left of the net with 12:45 left in regulation. Two minutes later, Price kicked out his left skate to get a piece of Paul Gaustad's shot from the slot. Price then got some help from defenseman Hal Gill, who got down on one knee to block Rob Niedermayer's attempt to convert the rebound.
Ennis tied the game with a power-play goal 11:21 into the second period following a scramble in front.
The Sabres lost forward Drew Stafford in the first period to what the team called a lower body injury.
The Canadiens played their 3,000th NHL road game. They're 1,251-1256-493 away from Montreal.
Notes: Sabres RW Patrick Kaleta returned after missing seven games with a hand injury. Kaleta's return led to Buffalo demoting rookie LW Luke Adam to AHL Portland. ... The Canadiens have a far superior home record, going 1,835-749-419 since the NHL was established in 1917. The Habs won their 3,000th home game, beating Boston 3-2 on Jan. 8. ...C anadiens LW Benoit Pouliot missed his second game with the flu.
The Numbers Game - Jan. 18, 2011
Habby Birthday Captain!