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Miller strong as Sabres edge Canadiens

Feb 7, 2009 - 5:26 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Ryan Miller had his career-best shutout streak halted, but another stellar performance in net lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a win anyway.

Miller made 35 saves and Tim Connolly scored the winning goal 4:55 into the third period as the Sabres posted a 3-2 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday.

Defensemen Jaroslav Spacek and Nathan Paetsch netted second-period tallies as Miller kept Buffalo in the game early, stopping all 15 shots he faced in an opening session dominated by Montreal.

"We've gone through a tough month," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said, referring to playing 10 of 13 games in January on the road. "We've been able to come home and win a couple games. Obviously, we're going in the right direction, but we have to maintain that. We have to put what we've done behind us and set some goals and think about trying to creep up on the teams ahead of us."

Miller, who won his third straight start, had his scoreless run halted at 157 minutes, 12 seconds when Canadiens captain Saku Koivu netted a power-play goal at 10:21 of the second period.

"Keep the win streak going, that's better," Miller said. "Shutouts are nice when they happen, but the main thing is to get the win. I thought we played a good game. We got our feet under us after the first period and really played a solid hockey game."

Early in the third period, an attempted clear off the end boards by Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek deflected off the side of the net and right to Connolly, who beat All-Star goaltender Carey Price for his 11th goal of the season and a 3-1 lead.

"I just tried to make an end pass off the back boards," said Komisarek, one of the Canadiens' four All-Stars. "I don't know if it took a bad bounce or not, but the next thing you know, it's inside our net, I'm scrambling to get back. You have to make a better play."

Blue-liner Roman Hamrlik cut the deficit back to one with 3:26 left with a one-timer. A tripping penalty on All-Star Game MVP Alexei Kovalev left Montreal shorthanded with under two minutes to go, but Maxim Lapierre nearly tied the game in the final minute on a breakaway.

Lapierre dived to stop a long pass and was all alone in the offensive zone. However, he was unable to regain his balance, and the puck was cleared from danger as the Sabres held on for the win.

"Right now, we're creating those bad bounces," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We have pucks on our sticks and we're making bad decisions. Those are really hard for us to get over, especially at this time of year."

Montreal took it to Buffalo early, but Miller was up to the task each time. After posting consecutive shutouts against Toronto and Phoenix, he was staked to a 1-0 lead on a blast by Spacek just 27 seconds into the middle period.

Koivu snapped Miller's streak midway through the session, when he skated in front of the net and slid the puck between the goalie's pads to forge a 1-1 tie.

The Sabres went back in front for good when Paetsch took a backhanded pass from Adam Mair and lifted a shot past the glove of Price just 1:55 later.

"We had lost the faceoff, and both Mair and (Matt) Ellis jumped," Paetsch said. "They did a great job pursuing the puck. They battled, and Mair came out with the puck and I found a soft spot. He made a great pass on his backhand."

Price stopped 19 shots for Montreal, which has lost five straight road games.

"It's not a whole lot of fun. Losing is not very enjoyable," Price said. "Miller played better than I did. We couldn't get to some pucks and they got to a few."

The Northeast Division rivals have split four meetings thus far this season. Each contest has been decided by one goal, with Buffalo winning once in a shootout and Montreal claiming an overtime victory.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 0 1 1 2
    BUFFALO 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BUF - JAROSLAV SPACEK 3 (JOCHEN HECHT, PATRICK KALETA) 0:27
    MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 9 (MAX PACIORETTY, JOSH GORGES) 10:21
    BUF - NATHAN PAETSCH 2 (ADAM MAIR, MATT ELLIS) 12:16
    3RD PRD: BUF - TIM CONNOLLY 11

    Feb 6 9:59 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    BUFFALO 3
    3RD PRD: MON - ROMAN HAMRLIK 4 (ANDREI KOSTITSYN, MAXIM LAPIERRE)
    16:34

    Canadiens 2, Sabres 3  3rd - 3:26Feb 6 9:51 PM
  • 65
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 60 roots (Close Finish)

    Canadiens 2, Sabres 3  3rd - 3:26Feb 6 9:51 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    BUFFALO 3
    3RD PRD: BUF - TIM CONNOLLY 11 (UNASSISTED) 4:55

    Canadiens 1, Sabres 3  3rd - 15:05Feb 6 9:28 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 0 1 1
    BUFFALO 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BUF - JAROSLAV SPACEK 3 (JOCHEN HECHT, PATRICK KALETA) 0:27
    MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 9 (MAX PACIORETTY, JOSH GORGES) 10:21
    BUF - NATHAN PAETSCH 2 (ADAM MAIR, MATT ELLIS) 12:16
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Feb 6 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - NATHAN PAETSCH 2 (ADAM MAIR) 12:16

    Canadiens 1, Sabres 2  2nd - 7:44Feb 6 8:48 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 9 (JOSH GORGES) 10:21

    Canadiens 1, Sabres 1  2nd - 9:39Feb 6 8:46 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: BUF - JAROSLAV SPACEK 3 (JOCHEN HECHT, PATRICK KALETA) 0:27

    Canadiens 0, Sabres 1  2nd - 19:33Feb 6 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 0 0
    BUFFALO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MON 15 15
    BUF 5 5
    GOALIES: MON - CAREY PRICE
    BUF - RYAN MILLER

    Feb 6 8:09 PM
  • 5
    roots
    mrman226 Added 5 roots

    Canadiens vs. SabresFeb 6 6:53 AM