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Habs bring momentum into showdown with Sabres
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens look to build off a thrilling victory Sunday night as they visit the struggling Buffalo Sabres.
The Canadiens had been outscored 13-3 over a three-game losing streak heading into Saturday's matchup with the Ottawa Senators and were in danger of matching their longest skid of the season.
Montreal trailed by three goals in the third period, but scored three times in the final 3:22 of the frame. The Canadiens then won it 5-4 on Francis Bouillon's goal 1:26 into overtime.
Lars Eller started the comeback bid and Brian Gionta scored with 2:04 in the frame. David Desharnais then beat the buzzer with just 0.3 seconds on the clock.
"The second period was not our period, but after Eller's goal, we believed we could come back to win that game," Bouillon said.
On the game-winner, Max Pacioretty fired a shot from low in the right circle. Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner made the save and felt the puck was covered up. However, the referee didn't blow the play dead and Pacioretty dislodged the puck and Bouillon put it into the open net.
P.K. Subban assisted on all three of Montreal's third-period goals, while Carey Price made 30 saves in his return to the Canadiens' crease.
It was Price's first action since helping Canada win its second straight gold medal at last month's Winter Olympics. He missed Montreal's first eight games following the NHL's resumption of play with a lower-body injury he aggravated in Russia.
Price did not travel with the team to Buffalo in order to get some extra rest, meaning Peter Budaj is likely to start tonight. He is 4-1-2 with a 2.18 goals against average in his career versus the Sabres.
Montreal's thrilling win kept it tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division with 79 points. That is just one point back of the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Sabres come in having lost five straight and six of their last seven games. They have not scored more than two goals in any of those setbacks and were bested 4-1 by the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Tyler Ennis supplied the lone marker for the Sabres, while Jhonas Enroth allowed three goals on 37 shots in defeat.
Ennis has scored in two straight games and has tallied six goals in his past nine games. Drew Stafford, meanwhile, did not score for the first time in four games, but did assist on Ennis' goal.
Interim coach Ted Nolan would like to see the rest of his offense produce.
"We can't expect (Ennis) to score all the goals every game and expect to win," Nolan said. "Drew Stafford's the same thing. He's playing well. We need some other people to contribute once in awhile."
Michal Neuvirth could get the start tonight for the Sabres and it would be his third since being acquired from the Washington Capitals. He lost his first two games with Buffalo despite giving up just five goals on 98 shots faced and he came up with 51 stops versus Carolina on Thursday.
Neuvirth is 5-3-0 with a 2.25 GAA in his career versus the Habs, who have won both of their meetings with the Sabres this season and three in a row in this series overall.
03/16 10:46:48 ET
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