MONTREAL – There was no doubt who the fans came to see. Montreal goaltender Carey Price had barely stepped onto the ice Saturday when the sellout crowd started chanting, "Carey, Carey, Carey."
Buffalo would have liked to see the all-world goalie miss one more game. They might have had a chance to win.
Price, who had been out since Nov. 2 with a lower-body injury, blanked the Sabres during his return to the crease. The goalie made 36 saves to deliver a 3-0 victory in Bell Centre.
The Sabres hoped to build off Friday's slump-busting win, but they had no luck against the wall in net. Buffalo fell to 1-6-2 in the last nine games, 6-14-4 this season and 0-1-2 against Montreal.
Injury report: The Sabres played with just 11 forwards for the second and third periods after Jacob Josefson left with an injury. The center had a full shift during the final minute of the first period, but he never came out for the second.
Josefson was playing in his third game after missing 15 with an ankle injury. He had an assist Wednesday against Minnesota and scored Friday against Edmonton.
Top shelf, wrong shelf: The Canadiens opened the scoring on the power play, and they received unexpected help. Defenseman Jeff Petry fired a low slap shot from the blue line, and Sabres blue-liner Rasmus Ristolainen tried to stop it.
Instead, the puck launched over goaltender Robin Lehner into the top corner with 7:06 left in the first. Buffalo defensemen have yet to score into the opposing net through 24 games.
On the rebound: Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella got caught moving forward at center ice, which allowed the Canadiens to slip behind him for a two-on-one. Lehner made a pad save on Paul Byron's blast, but the rebound went to driving Alex Galchenyuk.
He easily deposited his fifth goal to put the Sabres in a 2-0 hole with 6:02 left in the second.
Power-play mistake: The Sabres hadn't given up a short-handed goal since Oct. 20 against Vancouver. The run is over.
Jack Eichel handed the puck to Byron at center ice, and the former Sabres forward scored on a breakaway with 11:33 left in the game to make it 3-0. It was the seventh short-handed goal allowed by Buffalo this season, tied with the New York Islanders for the most in the NHL.
Paul Byron snags an errant pass by Jack Eichel, beats Robin Lehner while shorthanded pic.twitter.com/oOo25UUVfi
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) November 26, 2017
Empty net: The Sabres pulled Lehner for an extra attacker following a commercial break with 5:22 to play.
It almost worked. Evander Kane scored with 32.5 seconds left to end Price's shutout bid, but the goal was erased for goalie interference after video review.
Active first: Price made 10 saves during the first period and Lehner stopped 13 of 14, including all the ones taken by Montreal. The Sabres hit the opening intermission in a 1-0 hole.
Even busier second: The Sabres fired 15 shots at Price during the second, including seven of the opening eight in the period. None slipped past the goaltender, who kept his team in front through two periods despite getting outshot, 25-23.
Of Lehner's eight saves during the second, his best was a power-play chance in the slot by Galchenyuk.
Scratches: Sabres coach Phil Housley made two changes to his lineup. Defenseman Josh Gorges replaced Justin Falk and skated with Nathan Beaulieu. Right wing Seth Griffith skated in place of Kyle Criscuolo on a line with center Johan Larsson and left wing Zemgus Girgensons.
"We have just played a lot of hockey in the last week or two," Housley said. "We need some fresh bodies in the lineup."
Left wing Matt Moulson sat for the sixth straight game.
Hockey Fights Cancer: The Canadiens welcomed six youths from Leucan – a pediatric cancer association – onto the ice for the starting lineups as part of Hockey Fights Cancer Night. Suite holders hosted 70 kids from Leucan in their booths to watch the game.
Next: For the first time since Nov. 15-16, the Sabres have a two-day break. Their run of six games in nine nights is over, so Buffalo will take Sunday off and return to practice Monday. The Tampa Bay Lightning visit KeyBank Center on Tuesday.
Story topics: Jacob Josefson