Sabres Use Big First Period to Beat Canadiens 6-2


Dec 3, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Clarke MacArthur, Jason Pominville and Derek Roy scored first-period goals, Ryan Miller made 21 saves, and the Buffalo Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-2 on Thursday night.

It was the fourth straight win for Buffalo and the fourth consecutive loss for the Canadiens, who will celebrate their 100th anniversary on Friday at home against the Boston Bruins.

Miller had few difficult saves until late in notching his 16th win. Tim Kennedy, Andrej Sekera and Michael Grier also scored for Buffalo, which outshot Montreal 37-23. Thomas Vanek had three assists.

Scott Gomez
and Josh Gorges scored for the Canadiens.

Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves for the Canadiens, who fell behind 4-0 and failed to register a shot from 7:23 of the first period until 19:01 of the second, a span of over 13 1/2 minutes.

Both teams played Toronto in their previous games, and both ended 3-0. The Sabres won in Toronto on Monday and the Canadiens lost at home Tuesday.

The Canadiens continued to falter after Miller stopped Michael Cammalleri in the first minute on a shot from the left side of the net. After that, it was all Sabres, who outshot the Canadiens 15-3 in the first.

MacArthur gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 2:28 in. Halak, in his 10th game this season, was unable to control a shot by Drew Stafford and it bounced in front. MacArthur quickly put the puck over Halak's blocker for his eighth goal.

The line of Pominville, Jochen Hecht and Roy along with defenseman Tyler Myers, who had two assists, dominated the defenseless Canadiens in the opening period. Pominville notched his sixth goal at 6:16 to make it 2-0. Halak was caught out of position when he was unable to control the rebound of a shot by Roy, and Pominville flipped it into the open side of the net.

The Sabres made it 3-0 on a goal that almost seemed too easy. Pominville picked up a loose puck along the boards and feathered a perfect pass from the right corner through the crease between Halak and kneeling defenseman Ryan O'Byrne to the stick of Roy, who redirected it into the gaping left side.

Kennedy scored 4:31 into the second. It was his second goal in two games and third of the season.

Brian Gionta and Gomez combined to produce the decisive goal in Montreal's 2-1 overtime win in the Sabres' season opener. But Gionta has missed nine straight games with a foot injury and Gomez didn't strike until the Canadiens were down by four.

The speedy center one-timed a cross-ice feed from Sergei Kostitsyn past Miller at 16:50 for his third goal.

Miller stymied a short-handed bid by Maxim Lapierre early in the third with a glove save off a hard shot from the left circle and stopped Andrei Kostitsyn breaking in alone from the right point just after the Montreal penalty expired.

The Canadiens had their lone power play of the game midway through the third. But after the Sabres killed it, Gorges converted the rebound of a shot by Lapierre at 11:27 to move Montreal within 4-2. It was Gorges' second goal.

Miller stopped Cammalleri from the right circle with just over 7 minutes remaining and Sekera scored his first of the season on the Sabres' next rush with 6:48 left.

Grier scored in the final minute.

Buffalo D Chris Butler sustained a lower body injury in the first period and didn't return. … The Sabres also were without C Paul Gaustad (knee), who missed his third straight game. … With a record of 10-0, the Sabres are among nine undefeated teams when leading after two periods this season. The Rangers and Devils are tied for the undefeated lead at 11-0.

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