MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty's goal with 1:52 left in overtime gave the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night in a heartbreaker that saw the Sabres lead through 40 minutes but lose their second straight game.
The usual Bell Centre sellout crowd of 21,302 roared its approval as Pacioretty beat Buffalo goalie Chad Johnson on a breakaway with the backhand after Ryan O'Reilly fumbled the puck near the Sabres line.
Unknown in the net: Charlie Lindgren made 34 saves for the Canadiens as he continued his strong play in the face of injuries to starter Carey Price and backup Al Montoya. Lindgren, who spent most of last year at St. John's of the AHL, entered the game with a 1.35 goals-against average and equally scintillating .961 save percentage in his first three appearances this season.
Beat the clock: The Sabres opened the scoring wtih 5.7 seconds left in the first period as O'Reilly pulled a loose puck off the back boards and jammed it by Lindgren to give the Sabres a power-play goal to forge a 1-0 lead for the second straight game. Replays showed Evander Kane took the shot that O'Reilly corralled but the goal was listed as unassisted.
Slowly gaining power: The Sabres went 1 for 3 on the power play and have scored with the man advantage in consecutive games for the first time this season. They had been a paltry 1 for 25 on the power play in their previous eight games.
A new look: Coach Phil Housley made a couple major changes to his forward lines, putting Sam Reinhart with Jack Eichel and Kane while moving Jason Pominville down to the third line with Matt Moulson and Johan Larsson. The trio of O'Reilly between Benoit Pouliot and Kyle Okposo remained together. The fourth line was Zemgus Girgensons between Jordan Nolan and Nick Baptiste.
Pominville entered the game with no goals in his previous four games and just one goal in his last seven.
Pulling even: The Habs tied the game at 1-1 on Andrew Shaw's power-play goal at 1:01 of the third period. It was a mid-air deflection from in close by Shaw off a long Jonathan Drouin wrist shot from the middle that found its way past goaltender Chad Johnson's glove. It came with eight seconds left in a slashing penalty to Eichel.
In the net: Johnson made 27 saves for the Sabres, including two on clear breakaways. In the game's first 90 seconds, after Buffalo defenseman Nathan Beaulieu blew a tire to allow Alex Galchenyuk to speed in on a breakaway, Johnson robbed Galchenyuk with a right pad save. A few seconds after the Drouin goal, Johnson stymied former Sabre Paul Byron on a backhand.
Getting pugilistic: Former Canadien Josh Gorges returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury Oct. 20 and had an impact with some physical play. Late in the first period, Gorges drilled Brendan Gallagher and was immediately challenged at center ice by Jordie Benn. The two traded blows for several seconds in a spirited scrap.
Up next: The Sabres are in Pittsburgh Tuesday night for their first meeting of the season with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. On Friday, they play the Detroit Red Wings in their first trip to Little Caesars Arena. The next home game is Saturday night against Carolina in KeyBank Center.