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Souray scores with one second left in OT for Canadiens

Nov 25, 2006 - 3:54 AM BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Apparently desperate to avoid a shootout, Sheldon Souray made every second count for the Montreal Canadiens.

Souray scored with one second remaining in overtime and captain Saku Koivu added a goal and an assist as the Canadiens won for the fifth time in six games with a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

After losing the first two meetings against the Sabres, Montreal turned to Souray, who netted his team-leading ninth goal and 49th of his nine-year career to help the Canadiens raise their road mark to 7-3-1.

"These are things we're trying to do to get to that next level and gain the respect we want to have," Koivu said. "You get that by winning these kind of games. ... We knew that if we don't play smart, if we don't play hard (and) get that puck deep, it's going to be a long night for us."

With time running out in overtime, Souray took Alexei Kovalev's pass, skated toward the goal and flipped the puck into the top-left corner past goaltender Ryan Miller.

"I tried joining in the play, found an opening and got the puck," Souray said.

"I knew there was less than 10 seconds (on the clock)," Koivu said. "I thought there was about seven, eight seconds left, go for one. I don't know how much was left when Sheldon scored. (It was) lucky enough."

Buffalo opened the scoring with 7:27 left in the second period when Maxim Afinogenov skated around the net and made a centering pass to defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, whose slap shot beat goaltender Cristobal Huet to the glove side.

Koivu tied the game at 8:21 of the third period when the puck slipped off his stick while attempting to pass to Guillaume Latendresse and found the gap in Miller's pads.

"It was a big play by (Michael) Ryder at our blue line because their defense was pinching and that made the whole thing happen," Koivu said. "It was a 2-on-1. I was looking for the pass but Teppo (Numminen) took it away. Then, I was able to go to by (with a) backhand. A little lucky there. It went five-hole."

Huet made 29 saves for Montreal, including a stop of Thomas Vanek's breakaway with one minute left in overtime, for his fifth consecutive victory.

"For a goalie, I think the team really stepped up and played the way the coaches wanted us to play," Huet said. "Every save is difficult against those guys. They have some skill. It was good to score after that save (on Vanek)."

"(Huet) was very solid tonight," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "He was in the zone. His technique is flawless and it's a good character for a goaltender to have to make the big save in the clutch."

Miller turned away 28 shots and lost for the first time in seven decisions to the Canadiens. He fell to 11-2-2 this season.

"I thought we could have had two (points)," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "For a good period of time, we dominated the game. We had a heck of a second period. Pucks went off posts, one off a crossbar, the breakaway in overtime. I don't think we should be happy with one."

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