The Canadiens broke open a 2-2 game with five straight goals in a 7-2 win over the Sabres in Buffalo Friday night. The Canadiens have now won the first eight games of the season and tie the NHL record of eight straight victories in regulation time, a record they now share with the 1975 Sabres.
Brendan Gallagher and Dale Weise each scored twice while the defense pairing of Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban piled up eight scoring points. Markov had a goal and 4 assists. The other Canadiens goals were scored former Sabre Torrey Mitchell and Max Pacioretty. Matt Moulson and Ryan O’Reilly scored for Buffalo. The Sabres outshot the Canadiens 36-26. The announced three stars in Buffalo were Markov, Subban and Gallagher.
Senior Citizen – Andrei Markov will celebrate his 38th birthday on December 20th. The ageless-one had a career high 5 point game. The last time he had as many as four points in a game was nine years and two major knee surgeries ago against Toronto. Markov was on the ice for six of the seven Canadiens goals. He finished the evening at plus-4 and took over the league lead at an improbable plus-14 after only eight games. And to cap it off, his assist on Max Pacioretty’s goal was the 500th point of his career.
The Back End – Markov wasn’t alone. P.K. Subban had three assists and was plus-3. Including the two power play goals they were each on the ice for six of the seven Canadiens goals. Subban is now tied with Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson for the scoring lead among defensemen with eight points, all of them assists.
Dynamo – Another one of those Brendan Gallagher games. On the puck all night long. Two goals to show, both the result of net presence. The first he jammed in on the short side off his own rebound, the second off Pacioretty’s rebound and it was Gallagher’s goalmouth screen that produced the third period Pacioretty goal. Also in the third period, as usual in front of the crease, he took one of P.K. Subban‘s blasts in the ribs. Gallagher didn’t miss a shift.
Channeling Carey – Mike Condon‘s second career NHL start might have been better than his first. He wasn’t under a lot of pressure in his Ottawa debut. For the first half of this game, but for Condon’s work, things might have gone out of control for the Canadiens. The scoring chances through the first half of the game were lopsidedly in favour Buffalo and yet it was 2-2 in the second period’s 14th minute. Condon did have help from three goalposts…but that’s goaltending life. Canadiens backup netminding appears to be in good hands.
Also Noteworthy –
….The Plekanec line accounted for three more goals. Along with the two from Gallagher, Max Pacioretty got his 6th of the season which ties him with Jamie Benn for the league lead. ……The Sabres tried to beat the Canadiens in the alley in the first period, outhitting them 11-3. When that failed to work the hits were 9-8 for Buffalo in the final two periods. …..On the other end, Alexei Emelin delivered 5 of the Canadiens 11 hits. ……..A satisfying homecoming for Torrey Mitchell who scored the game-winning against his former teammates and won 65 percent of his faceoffs. He also took the lion’s share of the defensive zone faceoffs winning 8 of 13. …..Overall, the Canadiens were 59% in the faceoff circle. .…The Canadiens still haven’t given up a first period goal this season. ….They have outscored opponents 14-1 in their third periods including three in this game…… In the entire season they have scored the opening goal in seven of their eight games and have trailed in a game only 2:55.
Moving On – The Canadiens can break one NHL record and close in on another when play Toronto on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. A win would give them nine straight to start the season, one short of the league record co-held by the ’93 Leafs and ’06 Sabres. The now share the record for most consecutive wins in regulation time with Buffalo at 8.