Quick hits: Sabres 2, Canadiens 1 - The Buffalo News

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Quick hits: Sabres 2, Canadiens 1

The Sabres sent Buffalo fans into the offseason with a victory.

After losing three straight, including their worst game of the season Monday against Toronto, the Sabres rebounded with a 2-1 win over Montreal. Buffalo finished with a 20-15-6 record in KeyBank Center this season.

Buffalo improved to 26-15-6 in home finales.

Goaltender Robin Lehner made 31 saves as the Sabres snapped the Canadiens' five-game winning streak.

Risto rocket: The Sabres opened the scoring with 6:01 off the clock, and there was nothing Montreal goaltender Carey Price could do about it. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen stepped to the top of the right circle and unleashed a bomb into the far-side top corner. It was the sixth goal and 45th point for Ristolainen, who got help from a Sam Reinhart screen.

Montreal entered the night fifth in the NHL when scoring first with a 33-6-5 record.

Work for it: Right wing Tyler Ennis deserved the goal that put Buffalo up, 2-0 with 8:25 left in the second period. After helping get the puck deep in the Montreal zone, Ennis skated to the slot. He outworked Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen, stole the puck from the forward and quickly shot it past Price for his fifth goal.

Getting close: Once the third period started, the Canadiens wasted no time cutting their deficit to 2-1. Alexander Radulov continued a rush by feeding a streaking Tomas Plekanec as the center cut across the middle. Plekanec beat Lehner with just 46 seconds gone in the third.

Sabres' Okposo hospitalized and in intensive care

Foligno leaves: Sabres left wing Marcus Foligno left the game with a knee injury. His final shift came with 2:17 left in the second period.

Emelin departs: Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin suffered a lower-body injury during the second period and did not return.

Most Valuable Player: The players voted Ryan O’Reilly as their team MVP for the second straight season. The center entered the night second to Jack Eichel in points with 20 goals, 33 assists and 53 points in 69 games.

Rookie of the Year: The players voted center Evan Rodrigues as their top rookie. The 23-year-old entered the night with four goals and six points in 27 games. Other rookies to dress for Buffalo this season include William Carrier, Justin Bailey and Nick Baptiste.

Unsung Hero: The players voted Jake McCabe as their Unsung Hero. The 23-year-old was second among Buffalo defensemen with three goals, 20 points and 113 blocked shots while skating 20:44.

McCabe was a healthy scratch Wednesday for the first time this season.

Sabres Foundation Man of the Year: The players honored Zach Bogosian for his charity work. The defenseman launched the Bogo Bunch Foundation, which raised money for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Buffalo Wellness Center Juicer Fund and the Jeff Sgroi Foundation through its “Casino for a Cause.”

Counting the house: It was a red-laden crowd as Montreal fans inhabited a good portion of the lower bowl. The Sabres announced 18,815 tickets sold for their 19,070-seat arena. They finished the year with 10 sellouts in 41 home games.

Next: The Sabres close the books on the 2016-17 season with a quick trip to Florida. They visit the Panthers on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

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