Call them “Club Rebound”. For the third time in the last ten days the Canadiens followed a very poor outing with a solid winning effort. Friday night at the Bell Centre the Canadiens bounced back from a bad effort against the Atlanta Thrashers twenty-four hours earlier and recorded a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Canadiens are now 3-0 versus Buffalo this season.

Brian Gionta led the way with 2 goals and an assist. His linemates, Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec each had two points nights, Kostitsyn with a goal and an assist; Plekanec with two assists.

Summing It Up- The Canadiens need to find the consistency they showed when they were winning four games in a row earlier in the month. Eleven nights ago, the Canadiens shut out Philadelphia 3-0. They were then shutout at home by Nashville, came back to shutout Toronto 2-0. They went in to Philadelphia and played poorly in a 3-2 defeat; beat Los Angeles, lost in Atlanta and now a win over Buffalo. We had a great night from the Plekanec line who participated in all three goals. The Canadiens poured 20 shots on Ryan Miller in the first period but could get only one goal. They were opportunists with the two Gionta goals in the second period and closed the deal with a first-rate defensive third period. Outside of the three stars, Gionta, Price and Kostitsyn, there were eye-catching performances from P.K. Subban, who had six of his eight shots on goal in the first period, Hal Gill plus Tomas Plekanec, Benoit Pouliot and the Jeff Halpern line, especially Tom Pyatt. Another good night for the power play as well.   Price’s goals against average drops to 1.95 and his save percentage is now .935.   Good effort all around. 

How It Went-

The First Period

Stating Their Case – Maxim Lapierre was handed an interference penalty at 1:32. It was the Canadiens who dominated with Miller forced to make a save on penalty killer Tom Pyatt’s breakaway and twenty seconds later Brian Gionta was in alone and missed the net with his shot.

Taking Over- The Sabres got into penalty trouble midway through the period. When Shaone Morrisonn drew a penalty at 9:23 the shots on goal were 7-5 for the Buffalo. Over the next ten minutes as the Sabres were forced to kill two more penalties including a Canadiens 5-on-3, Buffalo was outshot 15-1.

The First Goal – The Canadiens entered the game with a record of 12-1-1 when they scored the first goal of the game. At 13:43 with a two man advantage, the Canadiens opened it up. Tomas Plekanec started it with a pass across to Gionta who’s shot was stopped by Miller. The rebound came right to Kostitsyn who had the open net.

PK!! PK!! – P.K. Subban took five shots, all of them in the final half of the period. He was to finish with a total of six on the night. End of the first period Montreal-1 Buffalo-0. Canadiens outshot Buffalo 20-8.

The Second Period

Turnabout – This time it was the Canadiens who took the penalties and the Sabres who took advantage. At least territorially. Four times during the period the Canadiens were shorthanded and it showed on the shots-clock. During penalties to, first Benoit Pouliot and then Alexandre Picard the Sabres threw ten shots at Carey Price. The Canadiens killed both penalties successfully.

Waiting for Their Chance – Two minutes after the Picard penalty was dealt with, Brian Gionta stole the puck in the Buffalo end and broke loose on a two-on-one with Andrei Kostitsyn. Gionta to Kostitsyn and back to Gionta with a hard 25 footer. 2-0 Canadiens.

Carey Comes Through – Despite the sheer weight of shots in the period, Price’s most glittering moment came in the sixteenth minute when the Hecht, Pominville, Grier line created a goalmouth scramble and P.K. Subban fell on top of him. Price was able to shed Subban and make a pad save on Hecht at the goalmouth.

Gionta Again! One minute after Price had kept the Sabres out at his end, Tomas Plekanec fed Gionta with a perfect pass. Let a no-wait shot go that Miller had no chance to handle. 3-0 Canadiens.

Rough Stuff – With six seconds left in the period, the Sabres Cody McCormick slashed Michael Cammalleri. By the time it settled down 28 minutes in penalties were handed out including fighting majors to McCormick and Travis Moen. End of the second period Montreal-3 Buffalo-0. Buffalo outshot the Canadiens 17-7.

The Third Period

The Best Defence.….. Is a good offense. Five seconds into the period Plekanec got in alone but couldn’t control a bouncing puck. In the second minute Gomez put Kostitsyn in alone. He missed the net.

Preserving the Shutout – At 12:39 Nathan Gerbe, who led the Sabres with five shots on goal, found himself all alone in front of Price. Price shut him down. Adam Luke had a chance with a backhander at 14:30 and Tyler Myers let a hard shot go that cleared the top of the net at 15:20.

End of the Shutout – Price’s bid for a league leading fifth shutout ended with 1:13 remaining. Jason Pominville won a faceoff against Plekanec in the Canadiens zone. Back to Hecht and over to the right boards for Jordan Leopold. His shot somehow found it’s way past Price into the net on the shortside. With Roman Hamrlik screening him, Price said he never saw the shot. Final score Canadiens-3 Buffalo-1. The Sabres outshot the Canadiens 11-6 in the third period.

The Goalscorers – Montreal -Kostitsyn (9th) PPG (Gionta-Plekanec); Gionta (6th) (Kostitsyn); Gionta (7th) (Plekanec-Spacek) Buffalo – Leopold (7th) (Hecht-Pominville)

Shots on Goal – Buffalo 8-17-11 = 36 Montreal 20-7-6 = 33

The Three Stars – First – Brian Gionta (2 goals – 8 shots) Second – Carey Price (stopped 35 of 36 shots) Third – Andrei Kostitsyn (1 goal 1 assist-3 shots)

 The Fenwick/Corsi Numbers

Game Number Team Player Number Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
20336 MTL 6 – D – SPACEK, JAROSLAV 2 1 5 8 6 2 2 5 1 6
20336 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 0 0 6 8 1 1 -2 3 3 -2
20336 MTL 13 – L – CAMMALLERI, MICHAEL 0 0 6 7 0 1 -2 2 4 -4
20336 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 2 1 5 8 5 0 3 5 3 5
20336 MTL 15 – C – HALPERN, JEFF 0 0 3 4 2 2 -1 1 3 -3
20336 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 2 1 6 9 5 1 2 7 3 6
20336 MTL 26 – D – GORGES, JOSH 0 0 4 9 5 4 -4 5 9 -8
20336 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 2 1 18 22 15 6 6 12 14 4
20336 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 0 2 6 0 1 -5 0 1 -6
20336 MTL 40 – C – LAPIERRE, MAXIM 0 0 5 6 3 1 1 1 5 -3
20336 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 2 1 5 7 5 2 2 4 2 4
20336 MTL 45 – D – PICARD, ALEXANDRE 0 0 8 7 4 1 4 3 5 2
20336 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 2 1 6 5 5 1 6 6 2 10
20336 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 0 0 4 1 7 3 7 4 5 6
20336 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 0 0 4 6 7 3 2 3 6 -1
20336 MTL 75 – D – GILL, HAL 0 0 5 8 6 3 0 3 7 -4
20336 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 0 0 9 5 4 0 8 4 4 8
20336 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 0 0 4 4 7 3 4 3 5 2
20336 MTL 94 – C – PYATT, TOM 0 0 3 2 3 1 3 1 2 2