for this game

Plekanec's hat trick powers Canadiens past Sabres

Mar 1, 2008 - 5:14 AM By Dave Whalen PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Tomas Plekanec recorded his first career hat trick with three power-play goals as the Montreal Canadiens skated past the Buffalo Sabres, 6-2, on Friday.

Alexei Kovalev had a career-high four assists and defenseman Mark Streit scored a goal and set up another for Montreal (35-21-9), which won for the sixth time in eight games and moved past the idle Ottawa Senators (36-23-6) for first place in the Northeast Division.

Brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn also tallied and Plekanec added an assist for his second career four-point effort for the Canadiens, who can take over the top spot in the Eastern Conference on Saturday, when they host New Jersey (37-22-6).

"For the next couple of hours, I'm just going to enjoy this one," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "That was a big game tonight. I mean, these guys are playing really well for a little while now."

The Devils lost to Washington, 4-0, on Friday.

Montreal opened the scoring just 84 seconds into the game, taking advantage of a tripping penalty on Ales Kotalik at the 20-second mark. Plekanec took a cross-ice feed from Kovalev to the far left of goaltender Ryan Miller and snapped the puck into the top left corner of the net.

Streit doubled the lead with his 11th goal of the season midway through the first period, when he picked up an errant pass by Thomas Vanek in the slot and wristed the puck past Miller.

"Everything was tough, even the penalty they took in the first part of the (game)," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "The Habs kicked us around a little bit and took advantage of odd-number situations. They got behind us, our defense got caught and our forwards didn't cover up."

The Sabres halved the deficit at 3:56 of the second period. During a power play, Vanek's shot ricocheted off the glass behind the net and hit rookie netminder Carey Price in the back of the head before dropping in, giving the Austrian his 27th goal of the season.

Plekanec and Kovalev connected again less than two minutes later to restore Montreal's two-goal lead. Kovalev found Plekanec open at the right faceoff dot, for a one-timer that got past Miller.

With 3:10 left in the second, Plekanec completed the hat trick with a nifty redirect of a pass by Kovalev. As he was cutting across the high slot, he took the hard feed and steered it by Miller on the glove side for his 24th goal.

"It's special, for sure, to get that first hat trick", Plekanec said. "I'm happy it helped the team to win the game. It wasn't really that hard. Nice passes from the guys on the power play. I just shot the puck on net."

Montreal, which leads the NHL in power-play efficiency, went a perfect 3-for-3 in this one.

"We knew that their power play was good. They did a really good job tonight," Ruff said. "They were better than us."

The Canadiens have scored with the man advantage in nine of their last 10 games.

"Our power plays are really doing the job for us," Carbonneau said. "We did a good job early in the game, and hopefully, we'll keep going."

In the third, Andrei Kostitsyn received a long pass from Kovalev and raced in before deking Miller and slipping a backhander between his pads at 2:39.

"I don't really care about the stats," Kovalev said. "The way I approach this game is that all the contests like these are to make the playoffs. It's not going to be the same game as we played at the start of the season. The Sabres play well and we play well on the road, so it was a good matchup."

After Tim Connolly drew Buffalo within 5-2 with 8:57 left, Sergei Kostitsyn knocked in a rebound with 2:28 remaining to complete the scoring.

Price stopped 31 shots for the Canadiens, while Miller made 27 saves for the Sabres, who are 1-2-1 in their last four games.

"We need to stay consistent for the rest of the year," Price said. "That's going to be a key coming into the playoffs. When we play strong defensively, I think we're a tough team to beat."

Derek Roy extended his career-high points streak to eight games with assists on both of Buffalo's goals. But the center credited Price for his strong effort.

"Price played well," Roy said. "We had a couple of point-blank chances that we missed. He made some good saves."






  • jonyboy26 Amazing game!

    Canadiens 6, Sabres 2  FinalMar 1 4:26 PM
  • 20
    roots
    jonyboy26 Added 5 roots

    Canadiens 6, Sabres 2  FinalMar 1 4:25 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 2 2 2 6
    BUFFALO 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 22 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, ROMAN HAMRLIK)
    1:24
    MON - MARK STREIT 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, MICHAEL RYDER)
    10:51
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 27 (JASON POMINVILLE, DEREK ROY)
    3:56
    MON - (PP) TOMAS

    Feb 29 10:01 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 6
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: MON - SERGEI KOSTITSYN 8 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI) 17:32

    Canadiens 6, Sabres 2  3rd - 2:28Feb 29 10:00 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    BUFFALO 2
    3RD PRD: BUF - (PP) TIM CONNOLLY 7 (THOMAS VANEK, DEREK ROY) 11:03

    Canadiens 5, Sabres 2  3rd - 8:57Feb 29 9:46 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    BUFFALO 1
    3RD PRD: MON - ANDREI KOSTITSYN 19 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, TOMAS PLEKANEC)
    2:39

    Canadiens 5, Sabres 1  3rd - 17:21Feb 29 9:34 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 2 2 4
    BUFFALO 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 22 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, ROMAN HAMRLIK)
    1:24
    MON - MARK STREIT 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, MICHAEL RYDER)
    10:51
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 27 (JASON POMINVILLE, DEREK ROY)
    3:56
    MON

    Feb 29 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 4
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 24 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, MARK STREIT)
    16:50

    Canadiens 4, Sabres 1  2nd - 3:10Feb 29 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 23 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, MARK STREIT)
    5:34

    Canadiens 3, Sabres 1  2nd - 14:26Feb 29 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 27 (JASON POMINVILLE, DEREK ROY) 3:56

    Canadiens 2, Sabres 1  2nd - 16:04Feb 29 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 2 2
    BUFFALO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 22 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, ROMAN HAMRLIK)
    1:24
    MON - MARK STREIT 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, MICHAEL RYDER)
    10:51
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MON 12

    Feb 29 8:10 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    BUFFALO 0
    1ST PRD: MON - MARK STREIT 11 (MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI, MICHAEL RYDER) 10:51

    Canadiens 2, Sabres 0  1st - 9:09Feb 29 7:56 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    BUFFALO 0
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 22 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, ROMAN HAMRLIK)
    1:24

    Canadiens 1, Sabres 0  1st - 18:36Feb 29 7:42 PM
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    Canadiens vs. SabresFeb 29 2:41 PM
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    Canadiens vs. SabresFeb 26 2:13 PM
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    Canadiens vs. SabresFeb 22 4:22 PM