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Montreal at Buffalo

Sabres' Pominville nets OT winner vs. depleted Habs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Canadiens goaltender Carey Price had no trouble keeping his head up as he left the ice while Jason Pominville and the Buffalo Sabres celebrated their 2-1 overtime victory.

Price was able to stomach the loss on Tuesday, because he could appreciate how well the Canadiens persevered after losing two forwards before the game was five minutes old. Max Pacioretty was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons after being struck in the right side by a teammate's shot, and Mike Cammalleri didn't return with what the team called an upper body injury.

"It almost feels like a win, getting that point," said Price, who stopped 37 shots. "I felt like we were battling uphill all game. Our guys played hard and we had to earn it."

There was more good news following the game. Canadiens spokesman Dominick Saillant told the Associated Press in an e-mail that Pacioretty traveled home with the team after meeting them at the airport.

The Sabres had reason to celebrate, too, after Pominville scored 1:09 into the extra period. In snapping a four-game skid against Montreal, they overcame a 1-0 deficit to improve to 6-2-1 in their past nine and even their record at 20-20-5.

The Sabres opened a stretch of four games in six nights by bouncing back from a dreadful 5-3 loss on Long Island last weekend,

"It's big, but we have got to have some consistency here," said Tyler Ennis, who had a goal and assist. "We've got to build off this."

Ennis set up the decisive goal by driving up the right side and feeding Thomas Vanek, who skated toward the net and fed a blind pass into the slot, where Pominville one-timed it past Price. The goal was scored on a power play after Scott Gomez lost his cool with a retaliatory high-stick on Nathan Gerbe in the final minute of regulation.

"Gerbe did a great job getting the penalty to get that power play," Ennis added. "When you get a chance in overtime like that, you have to bury it. It was big for us for Pommer to do that."

Vanek had two assists and Ryan Miller made 29 saves.

David Desharnais scored for Montreal, which endured a what-can-go-wrong-next opening period.

Pacioretty was hurt 4:15 in, when he was parked in front of the Sabres' net and hit James Wisniewski's shot from the blue line. Conscious and hooked to an IV, he was wheeled in a stretcher to a waiting ambulance during the first intermission.

Cammalleri was hurt 45 seconds earlier and did not return after being crosschecked to the back of the neck by Sabres defenseman Mike Weber. TSN reported that Cammalleri -- the Canadiens' second-leading scorer this season -- had separated his shoulder.

Weber was issued a 2-minute minor penalty, which led to Desharnais' goal.

The Canadiens, playing on consecutive nights following a 5-4 overtime win over Calgary, were actually down a third forward. Center Jeff Halpern had limited playing time after he went to the locker room on several occasions in the first period. He finished with 2:21 of ice time on five shifts, while mostly relegated to a penalty-killing role.

More on Canadiens vs. Sabres

Coach Jacques Martin would only say Halpern had an upper body injury.

Gomez shouldered the blame for the loss for taking what he called "a dumb penalty."

After being slashed from behind by Nathan Gerbe, Gomez wheeled around with his stick hand and hit Gerbe across the face.

"I'm not going to sit here and blame anyone," Gomez said. "I know better than that. I know not to put myself in that position. I did and it cost us a chance at two points."

The Sabres didn't escape the injury bug as forward Drew Stafford didn't return after hurting his groin in the first period.

Gomez and the Canadiens can thank Price for holding the fort in allowing them to register a point for the eighth time in nine games (6-1-2).

Price stopped Jochen Hecht set up in front on a 2-on-1 break midway through the first period. And he then took over in the third period when it became apparent the Habs were running on fumes.

Price kicked out his left pad to foil Nathan Gerbe's snap shot directly off a faceoff to the left of the net with 12:45 left in regulation. Two minutes later, Price kicked out his left skate to get a piece of Paul Gaustad's shot from the slot. Price then got some help from defenseman Hal Gill, who got down on one knee to block Rob Niedermayer's attempt to convert the rebound.

"I don't think anybody has any reason to hang their heads in here," rookie defenseman P.K. Subban said. "We got a point out of it."

The Canadiens played their 3,000th NHL road game. They're 1,251-1256-493 away from Montreal.

Notes

  • Sabres RW Patrick Kaleta returned after missing seven games with a hand injury. Kaleta's return led to Buffalo demoting rookie LW Luke Adam to AHL Portland.
  • The Canadiens have a far superior home record, going 1,835-749-419 since the NHL was established in 1917. The Habs won their 3,000th home game, beating Boston 3-2 on Jan. 8.
  • Canadiens LW Benoit Pouliot missed his second game with the flu.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jason Pominville (29) doesn't waste much time in the extra session and punches the winner after just 69 seconds. (Getty Images)
Jason Pominville (29) doesn't waste much time in the extra session and punches the winner after just 69 seconds. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Montreal (26-17-4)10001
Buffalo  (20-20-5) «01012
Three Stars
T. Ennis
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
R. Miller
BUF


Saves: 29
Save Pct.: .967
N. Gerbe
BUF


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:19Power Play - David Desharnais (2), Tip-In. Assist: Hamrlik, Wisniewski
2ND PERIOD
11:21Power Play - Tyler Ennis (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Vanek, Connolly
3RD PERIOD
None
OT
01:09Power Play - Jason Pominville (9), Snap Shot. Assist: Vanek, Ennis
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:41Weber, 2 min, Cross-Checking
06:28Kaleta, 2 min, Boarding
06:28Wisniewski, 2 min, Cross-Checking
09:14Gerbe, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
20:00Kaleta, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
2ND PERIOD
09:01Darche, 2 min, Interference
10:28Gill, 2 min, Slashing
3RD PERIOD
02:20Weber, 2 min, Slashing
16:33Gerbe, 2 min, Roughing
16:33Gomez, 2 min, Roughing
19:17Gomez, 2 min, High-Sticking
OT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
MON7121130
BUF9161136
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Carey Price 61:09372
Ryan Miller 61:09291
Game Information
Attendance - 18225
Referees - Greg Kimmerly, Mike Leggo
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Brad Kovachik
 
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