Jeff Skinner scored 3:06 into overtime to extend the Buffalo Sabres' winning streak to eight with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in front of a sold-out crowd at KeyBank Center on Friday.
Skinner hammered home a rebound on a power play after Rasmus Ristolainen drew a penalty. The Sabres, 15-6-2 with 32 points, earned points in eight straight games for the first time since 2012, and improved to 8-2-1 at home. This was their sixth third-period comeback of the season.
Skinner also tied the score with 2:26 remaining in regulation when he capitalized on a rebound off Zach Bogosian's slap shot from the right point for his 16th goal of the season. Carter Hutton made a spectacular save to rob Brendan Gallagher in front of the net with under a minute remaining. Casey Mittelstadt broke the scoreless tie in the first.
Winger Andrew Shaw deflected a puck past Hutton for a power play goal 8:18 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Buffalo nearly escaped the second period with the lead, but Brendan Gallagher tied it with 1:38 remaining by beating Hutton far side with a wrist shot from the right circle. Hutton stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced.
Montreal, 12-7-4, finally took the lead 8:18 into the third, only five seconds after Jason Pominville was sent to the penalty box for holding. Defenseman David Schlemko's shot from the blue line was deflected by Shaw, robbing the Sabres of moment.
The Sabres outshot the Canadiens, 12-8, in the first period — no small feat considering Montreal's fast starts this season — however, that was followed by another second-period letdown. This time, Buffalo couldn't capitalize on two power-play opportunities, as its scoring chances ended with shots missing the net or Canadiens goalie Antti Niemi making a save.
On the kill: Prior to Shaw's goal, the Sabres had killed off 20 of their 21 previous penalties, including Zach Bogosian's roughing penalty between the second and third periods.
Distinct kicking motion: The Canadiens nearly had a second goal in the second period, when Gallagher kicked a loose puck into the net with 6:20 remaining. Officials ruled it no goal moments later and that was confirmed by video review. The scoring chance occurred when Phillip Danault's wrist shot went off Hutton's glove, and the puck was left idle in the crease.
Bogosian tied up Gallagher to prevent him from getting a stick blade on it.
Nice recovery: Tage Thompson was slow to leave the ice after taking a slap shot off his left leg, but he returned to the ice and nearly scored midway through the second period by dangling around Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry, who blocked Thompson's shot attempt at the goal line.
Close call: Rasmus Dahlin barely missed the net at 13:43 into the first when Sam Reinhart found him with a backdoor pass to Niemi's right, giving Dahlin a wide open net to shoot into. Pominville missed the net less than two minutes later when Eichel sound him with a centering pass to the slot from behind the net.
Another fast start: The lead was only one goal after one, yet the Sabres gave Housley the start he desired. Montreal entered the game outshooting opponents, 247-217, in the first period of games this season and has struggled late in games.
After struggling to sustain possession for the first half of the period, Buffalo took over in the final 10 minutes and created a handful of quality chances. That all began when Dahlin made a drop pass to Thompson, whose wrist shot was stopped at 11:47. Hutton then made a perfect lead pass to Conor Sheary in the neutral zone, though Sheary lost the puck while trying to dangle around the defenseman.
Power-play slump: Before Skinner's overtime goal, the Sabres were four for their last 31 on the power play over a 12-game span. The Canadiens had allowed a power-play goal in four straight games.
Back-to-back sellouts: This was the first back-to-back sellout for the Sabres since last March, when they hosted Patrick Kane's Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs in consecutive games.
Win No. 15: The Sabres didn't achieve their 15th win last season until their 54th game, when they beat the New York Islanders, 5-4, on Feb. 8 at KeyBank Center.
Next: The Sabres will not hold a morning skate ahead of their 7 p.m. game Saturday at Little Caesars Arena against the Detroit Red Wings. It will be the teams' first meeting of the season.