Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

March 12, 2012

Not so soon

Last-second Montreal goal ties it, but Sabres beat Habs in OT

BUFFALO — Tyler Myers scored 2:01 into overtime to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.

Tyler Ennis scored twice and Ryan Miller made 26 saves as Buffalo earned its season-best fifth consecutive home win. The Sabres (33-29-8) also improved to 9-2-2 in their past 13 games and jumped ahead of Winnipeg into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Washington in the race for the final playoff spot.

Erik Cole and David Desharnais scored for the Canadiens (27-32-11), who had won two in a row.

Montreal managed to salvage a point when Desharnais forced overtime during a scramble with 5 seconds left in regulation.

The decisive goal came on a 3-on-2 rush, with Derek Roy driving up the left wing. He swung a pass across to Myers, who snapped a low shot just inside the far post.

Buffalo improved to 7-0-1 in its past eight against Northeast Division-rival Montreal. The only blemish was a 4-3 shootout loss in their previous meeting last month. That game prompted Sabres coach Lindy Ruff to say he was “embarrassed” following a sloppy effort that dropped Buffalo into a tie for last place in the East.

It was a frantic finish, with Desharnais scoring during a wild scramble in front. With several Sabres lying on the ice after blocking one shot after another, Cole threaded a pass through the crease, where Desharnais snapped it in from the lower left circle.

Ennis put the Sabres in front 1:50 into the third period courtesy of a fortunate bounce.

Driving up the right wing on a 2-on-1 break, Ennis attempted to sneak a pass through the middle to rookie Marcus Foligno. Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin reached back with his stick in an attempt to block the pass, but instead redirected it into his own net, just inside the left post.

As Foligno joined Ennis to celebrate behind the net, Emelin looked up to the roof in frustration.

Ennis tied it 11 minutes into the second on a nifty individual play. Collecting Drew Stafford’s pass at the Habs’ blue line on the fly, Ennis turned defenseman Andrei Markov inside out before driving to the net. Faking a backhand shot, Ennis went forehand and beat Peter Budaj.

The Canadiens goalie was otherwise sharp, stopping 33 shots.

In the first period, he somehow got a piece of Thomas Vanek’s shot through a screen. Then, four minutes into the second period, Budaj thrust his glove up to snag Roy’s blast that came on a 3-on-1 break.

Vanek was foiled again with 8:32 remaining, when he got in alone only to have Budaj get a piece of the shot with his right pad.

Despite being outshot 14-6 in the first period, the Canadiens scored the lone goal, capitalizing on a Sabres giveaway in the Buffalo zone 4:32 in. The puck squirted into the middle to Desharnais, who faked a shot before he made a slick pass to Cole, who blasted a shot inside the right post for his 26th of the season.

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