Sabres edge out Canadiens
Jack Eichel was the star for the Buffalo Sabres as they secured an impressive 5-4 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
The Sabres started the game at KeyBank Center as the favourites with sports betting companies, but in the end, they were grateful to Marcus Johansson, who won the game 1:30 into overtime thanks to a one-timer fired in from the right circle just five seconds after the end of a power play.
Rasmus Dahlin also contributed with two assists, while Carter Hutton made 23 saves for the Sabres, who move to a 3-0-1 record, meaning that they have earned a point in four straight games at the start of the season for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign, when they went 4-0-1.
For Montreal, Joel Armia scored twice and finished with an assist, while Keith Kinkaid came up with 34 saves in his first came for the Canadiens, but they once again trailed by a two-goal margin, as they have done in each of their games so far this season, and coach Claude Julien acknowledged that this habit, combined with their weakness during power plays, was a problem.
He said that they need to be better on the penalty kill and they need to stop playing catch-up hockey.
Julien added that they are showing a great deal of character, but it costs them if they fall asleep during games and then they have to rally.
The Canadiens had shown plenty of fighting spirit, coming back from 4-2 down in the third period thanks to goals from Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ben Chiarot, but were ultimately undone in overtime.
Victor Olofsson had opened the scoring for Buffalo in the first period, taking a pass from Eichel to score on the power play, becoming the fourth player in the history of the NHL to gain his first six goals all from power plays.
Armia scored his first at 14:06 in the first, finding the net with a short-handed goal after Nate Thompson picked up a loose puck, and he then gave the visitors the lead with 21 seconds left in the first period.
However, two goals from Eichel in the second period turned the game around, before Jeff Skinner scored to make it 4-2 to the home side seconds into the third period, and despite the Canadiens’ fightback, the Sabres went on to win the game and continue their strong start to the season.
Words: Stijn Janssen