for this game

Higgins, Canadiens send Sabres a message

Dec 20, 2006 - 4:59 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Christopher Higgins helped the Montreal Canadiens send the Buffalo Sabres a crystal-clear message.

Higgins scored two goals to lead the Canadiens to a 5-2 victory over the Sabres, which moved Montreal closer to Buffalo in the Northeast Division.

The left wing returned on Saturday after missing 18 games with an ankle injury and now has 10 goals this season.

"They (Buffalo) seemed almost uncatchable the way they started the year out," Higgins said. "Now we're within five points, we're headed in the right direction. We're a very confident team right now. We think we can catch them."

The loss was the second straight for the Sabres, marking the first time they have lost consecutive games all season. The Canadiens improved to 5-0-1 in their last six to get within five points of first-place Buffalo.

"We're being slapped with a little adversity," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We're not getting a lot of bounces. We had a couple laying around the goal line. We had a couple of opportunities that were home runs a month ago, now they're just going foul. We've got to battle through it."

"If you would have asked me a month and half ago if it was possible, everyone would of laughed," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said of his club possibly catching Buffalo. "Things happen during the season. We wanted to try and win this game tonight, put the pressure on them and see how they react."

Maxim Lapierre scored the winning goal for Montreal at 17:33 of the first period when he beat goaltender Ryan Miller from close range for a 3-1 lead.

Lapierre off to a great start, as he has three goals and an assist in five career NHL games.

Higgins' first goal came on the power play and gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead at 16:11 of the first period when he redirected a pass from Sergei Samsonov past Miller.

"The first one, I tried to catch him (Miller) sleeping a little bit on the short side," Higgins said. "I got a nice pass from Samsonov and just tried it to see if it would work, a little tip to the near side, and it went in."

Higgins tallied again midway through the third period to give Montreal some breathing room at 5-2.

"I picked up a turnover off the top of the zone and got a great return pass from (Michael) Ryder, and had a lot of net to shoot at," Higgins said. "I'm happy I put that one in."

Alexei Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec scored the other goals for the Canadiens while Cristobal Huet finished with 42 saves.

Ales Kotalik and Jaroslav Spacek scored the goals for Buffalo, which received 24 saves from Miller.

"You make your own luck," Miller said. "We've had some challenges lately. We need to regroup, go on the road and finish off the stretch on a high note before Christmas. We've got a tough game in Nashville. It's going to be a statement road trip. We didn't meet one of our goals for the year - 'Let's not lose twice.'"








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 3 0 2 5
    BUFFALO 1 1 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - ALES KOTALIK 7 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, CHRIS DRURY) 0:34
    MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 9 (ANDREI MARKOV, SHELDON SOURAY)
    13:01
    MON - (PP) CHRIS HIGGINS 9 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, MARK STREIT)
    16:12
    MON - MAXIM LAPIERRE 3 (GUILL

    Dec 19 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 10 (MICHAEL RYDER) 11:37

    Canadiens vs. SabresDec 19 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 4
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: MON - TOMAS PLEKANEC 4 (FRANCIS BOUILLON, SERGEI SAMSONOV)
    7:52

    Canadiens vs. SabresDec 19 9:17 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 3 0 3
    BUFFALO 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - ALES KOTALIK 7 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, CHRIS DRURY) 0:34
    MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 9 (ANDREI MARKOV, SHELDON SOURAY)
    13:01
    MON - (PP) CHRIS HIGGINS 9 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, MARK STREIT)
    16:12
    MON - MAXIM LAPI

    Dec 19 8:41 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - JAROSLAV SPACEK 5 (ALES KOTALIK) 12:06

    Canadiens vs. SabresDec 19 8:27 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 3 3
    BUFFALO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - ALES KOTALIK 7 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, CHRIS DRURY) 0:34
    MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 9 (ANDREI MARKOV, SHELDON SOURAY)
    13:01
    MON - (PP) CHRIS HIGGINS 9 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, MARK STREIT)
    16:12
    MON - MAXIM LAPI

    Dec 19 7:48 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: MON - MAXIM LAPIERRE 3 (GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE, SHELDON
    SOURAY) 17:32

    Canadiens vs. SabresDec 19 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) CHRIS HIGGINS 9 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, MARK STREIT)
    16:12

    Canadiens vs. SabresDec 19 7:44 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 9 (ANDREI MARKOV, SHELDON SOURAY)
    13:01

    Canadiens vs. SabresDec 19 7:36 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - ALES KOTALIK 7 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, CHRIS DRURY) 0:34

    Canadiens vs. SabresDec 19 7:11 PM