03/27 22:32 CDT Pezzetta scores shootout winner; Canadiens beat Sabres 4-3
Pezzetta scores shootout winner; Canadiens beat Sabres 4-3
By JOHN WAWROW
AP Hockey Writer
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) --- Brendan Gallagher and the Montreal Canadiens rallied
back to avoid playoff elimination with less than three weeks left in their
season. The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, are running out of chances to stay in
the Eastern Conference wild-card hunt.
Gallagher forced overtime by scoring his 200th career goal, and Michael
Pezzetta scored the decisive shootout goal in a 4-3 win over the Sabres on
"It's one of those things I think we earned that chance. We weren't fantastic
but we did enough on the road tonight to get a win," Gallagher said. "Smiles
The Canadiens could laugh, especially after Pezzetta celebrated his goal by
putting his stick between his legs and riding it like a wooden horse -- much
like former NHL tough guy Dave "Tiger" Williams did during his 14-year NHL
career spanning the 1970s and 80s.
"I'm not sure we'll see that again. One of a kind," said Gallagher. "I'd be
worried about falling over."
Pezzetta scored by driving in from the right circle to beat Eric Comrie inside
the far post. Buffalo's Jack Quinn scored in the fourth shootout round, but was
matched by Montreal's Jesse Ylonen, whose shot from in tight managed to trickle
in through Comrie.
Jordan Harris and Alex Belzile also scored for Montreal, and Jake Allen stopped
30 shots through overtime, while allowing one goal on six shootout attempts.
Montreal would have been eliminated from playoff contention for a second
straight season --- and two years removed from reaching the Stanley Cup Final
--- with any type of loss.
The Sabres squandered a 3-2 third-period lead to drop to 3-6-3 in their past
12. Buffalo also blew a chance to move to within four points of idle
Pittsburgh, which holds the eighth and final playoff spot.
"Just a little hesitation," forward JJ Peterka said of the Sabres third-period
lapse. "We didn't play with much energy and we didn't play that aggressive as
we played the two periods before. I think that was the difference."
Buffalo's Lukas Rousek scored a goal and added an assist while filling in for
leading scorer Tage Thompson, who did not play due to an upper body injury.
Peterka and defenseman Riley Stillman also scored, and Comrie stopped 38 shots
through overtime, and allowed two goals on six shootout attempts.
Montreal blew two one-goal leads to fall behind 3-2 on Stillman's goal at the
8:31 mark of the second period.
Gallagher scored on the fly by using Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin as a
screen to snap in a shot inside the far left post. With the goal, Gallagher
tied Bobby Rousseau for 24th on the Canadiens career scoring list.
"I liked the way we corrected ourselves, it's a sign of maturity, in the way we
stayed on task," Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said, in recalling how the
Canadiens recently unraveled in an 8-4 loss two weeks ago to Colorado, which
plays a similar up-tempo style as Buffalo.
The Sabres hosted their third Pride Night, with Russian D Ilya Lyubushkin
electing not to participate in warmups by citing an anti-gay Kremlin law and
fears of retribution at home in Moscow, where he has family and visits in the
offseason. The remainder of the team wore dark blue jerseys with the Sabres
logo on the front encircled by a rainbow-colored outline.
During the first intermission, the Sabres broadcast a video in which GM Kevyn
Adams said: "This is about recognizing someone's humanity and true identity. We
know there are people out there struggling with who they are, and we want them
to know that they have an ally in the Buffalo Sabres."
Canadiens: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Sabres: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night. -__ AP NHL:
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