The Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens are done with each other for the season and that's probably a good thing. The teams seemed completely sick of each other Wednesday night in a game eventually won by the Canadiens, 3-2 in overtime.
Paul Byron scored the winning goal with 1:45 left in the OT, deflecting it off Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian. Montreal won the season series, 3-2.
The teams' fifth meeting was full of chippy play and post-whistle scrums as they combined for 100 penalty minutes (a season-high 52 by Buffalo). It nearly degenerated into a full line brawl with the goalies participating in the final minute of the second period. Buffalo netminder Robin Lehner got a roughing penalty for a glove facewash of Habs winger Michael McCarron and Montreal goaltender Ben Scrivens advanced to his own blueline, thinking about joining the fray, before he was dissuaded by an official.
Lehner ripped off his mask and stared at Scrivens long distance -- and even chriped at his Montreal counterpart as the teams left the ice following the end of the period.
Marcus Magic: The Sabres were killing an Evander Kane double minor (cross-checking, unsportsmanlike conduct) midway through the third period when David Legwand patiently waited for his team to change. Legwand then fired a perfect pass up the middle to Marcus Foligno, who beat Scrivens for a short-handed goal that got the Sabres even at 2-2 with 8:04 to play.
Dominant first period: The Sabres' struggles in the opening 20 minutes are well-documented but they had one of their better ones in recent games, grabbing a 1-0 lead while outshooting the Habs, 15-5.
Swing and a drive: Zach Bogosian didn't need spring training to get a good swing going. He opened the scoring on a power play at 15:17 of the first by batting the rebound of his own shot out of mid air from several feet away of the Habs net in the faceoff circle to Scrivens' left.
Bogosian's fifth goal of the season stood after video review because of inconclusive evidence. The NHL situation room in Toronto said all four officials on the ice ruled it a good goal and the video could not tell if Bogosian's stick struck the puck over the crossbar, so the call stood. On replay, it appeared Bogosian hit the puck with the shaft of his stick, rather than the blade, and that likely helped the play stay a good goal.
Bad in any language: Beat writer Guillaume Lefrançois of LaPresse, the French newspaper that covers the Habs, tweeted this simple missive after the opening 20 minutes: "Fin d'une période misérable pour les #Habs." Bang on. Any way you say it, it was a miserable period for the visitors.
Back on the scoresheet: In his first game after missing nearly a month, Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly assisted on the Bogosian goal. O'Reilly has not scored since Jan. 8 in Chicago, 19 games ago, but has 15 assists in that span.
Quick turnaround: The Habs quickly tied the game 47 seconds into the second period as defenseman Greg Pateryn burned Lehner from the right circle. It was the first goal of his career in his 47th game.
Last-second luck: Montreal went ahead with 2.7 seconds left in the second period on Andrei Markov's shot that deflected off Brian Gionta's stick and floated over Lehner's glove.
On the shelf: The Sabres' man-games lost total cracked the 300 mark Wednesday as Tyler Ennis missed his 34th straight game with a concussion and Cody Franson sat for the 12th straight time with a neck injury. Buffalo's total of 301 games is the fourth-most in the league although it is slightly inflated because Cody McCormick has missed all 71 games this year with bloot clots.
Up next: The Sabres practice Thursday and then open a back-to-back here Friday night against Ottawa. Buffalo then plays Saturday night against Toronto in the Air Canada Centre.