Recap: Lehner Outduels Price as Sabres Beat Habs

It took a while for each team’s skaters to find their legs. However, once they did it was the two goaltenders who stood the tallest as the Buffalo Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.

Both sides had played the previous night, with the two starters each getting their teams’ first games of their back-to-backs off. That set the stage for an evenly matched, often-sloppy contest, during which Robin Lehner and Carey Price made 36 and 35 saves respectively.

First Period

It was clear that Lehner, who was fresh off an embarrassing performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs his last time out, came out to play right away. On a play that fooled the goal judge, Habs forward Alexander Radulov set up Max Pacioretty in close about midway through the frame. Lehner made a lightning-quick pad save on the initial shot, with Pacioretty backhanding the rebound directly into the post.

It was probably the best chance for either side of the period, with Buffalo outshooting the Habs 14-9 to start the game. The momentum would shift in the second, though.

Second Period

Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Gionta
Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Gionta – (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Artturi Lehkonen opened the scoring four minutes into the second, impressively sniping home a rebound off a Paul Byron shot on one knee. Byron, who had been drafted by the Sabres in 2007, added to his career season’s point total on the play and now has 28 on the year.

Ex-Habs captain Brian Gionta tied it up less than a minute later, as Evander Kane found him all alone on Price’s doorstep, with defensive lapses in Montreal’s zone ending up an unfortunate recurring theme in the game. Montreal nevertheless entered the third with the lead, with Philip Danault tipping in a Jeff Petry point shot about midway through the second.

Third Period

The momentum swung back in Buffalo’s favor in the third, with the Sabres getting several good looks in Price’s kitchen. Whatever he was cooking was red hot, though, even after Cody Franson tied up the game about midway through the frame.

With less than 30 seconds to go, Sabres forward Matt Moulson went in on a partial break. Price’s kick-save on the play was outstanding and outdone perhaps only by the one he made with his glove on defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen later on the same exact play.


While Price undeniably saved his team a point on Saturday, Lehner put the Sabres in a position to capture two with perhaps the stop on the night on Alex Galchenyuk.

The Habs had already dictated much of the play in overtime when Alexander Radulov drew in Buffalo’s defense and Lehner to one side of the ice about 1:30 in. That left Galchenyuk wide open in the slot and Lehner caught going the wrong way, but he more than corrected for any positioning error by robbing the Hab with a sparkling glove save of his own.

It essentially took a perfect, post-kissing shot, by Zach Bogosian on the next play, to win the game. The only real surprise was the triggerman, with Bogosian notching his first on the play to send the visiting Sabres home happy and the suddenly struggling Habs, who are 3-4-1 in their last eight, searching for answers. On this night at least, Lehner had nearly all of them.


Scoring Summary


No Scoring


MTL – Artturi Lehkonen (11) assisted by Paul Byron

BUF – Brian Gionta (10) assisted by Evander Kane

MTL – Philip Danault (10) assisted by Jeff Petry and Max Pacioretty


BUF – Cody Franson (2) assisted by Ryan O’Reilly


BUF – Zach Bogosian (1) assisted by Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane

THW Three Stars

First: Robin Lehner (36 saves)

Second: Carey Price (35 saves)

Third: Evander Kane (2 assists)

Next Up

Montreal Canadiens vs. Calgary Flames

Bell Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 24

Broadcast channels –SNE, RDS, SNW

2016-17 Season Series: First Matchup of the Season

Next Up

Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators

Bridgestone Arena – 8:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 24

Broadcast channels –TVAS, FS-TN, MSG-B

2016-17 Season Series: First Matchup of the Season