The Canadiens had a 2-0 lead in the first period against the first period and blew it. Then they had a 2-0 lead in the shootout and blew that as Buffalo recorded a 3-2 lead Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

Still with a single point, the Canadiens still managed to move into a tie with the Bruins for the Northeast Division points lead. The Bruins, who lost to Toronto, still hold a game in hand.

Max Pacioretty and Benoit Pouliot gave the Canadiens the 2-0 first period lead. Drew Stafford scored in the second period and Jason Pominville scored in the third to tie it up. Jochen Hecht scored in the tenth round of the shootout to give the Sabres the extra point. American Hockey League call-up Jhonas Enroth was the winning goaltender stopping thirty-two of 34 shots.

Summing It Up – “Aggressive/Passive” is the frustrating way the Canadiens sometimes play and over the season this inability to close out hockey games has cost the Canadiens points in the standings.

They had complete control of the game in the first period; outshooting the Sabres 18-7 and taking a 2-0 lead. Then their passive alter-ego took over. In the final two periods and the overtime they had two fewer shots than their first period total and but for some pretty spectacular work from Carey Price, this game might have been an embarrassing Sabres blowout win.

Granted, the Canadiens had five rookies in their lineup, but there were no rookies on the ice when Buffalo scored their goals. 

As on top-of-his-game Roman Hamrlik was against Toronto on Saturday, he was off in this game. I have no idea what the Canadiens are going to jack Scott Gomez’ game up. He was minus-1 on the night and now has, the team-worst rating on the Canadiens at minus-16. James Wisniewski is minus-19 but he was minus-18 when he came to the team from the Islanders.

On the plus side, a brilliant effort by David Desharnais (again) in setting up Benoit Pouliot for the goal that made it 2-0. Max Pacioretty scored another goal, his 4th in the last four games. His centre, Tomas Plekanec was the best Canadiens forward with five shots on goal and 61% in the faceoff circle. P.K. Subban was the best defenseman, especially in the overtime when he worked himself into position for three good scoring chances. Subban had six shots on goal in the game and led both teams with 29:22 ice time, six minutes more than Hamrlik’s 23:32..

Brendon Nash made his rookie debut and was not a liability, keeping his game simple. Nash was given almost twelve minutes of ice time.  He and Subban led the game with four blocked shots each.

Take the point and go home. It could have been worse. Bruins fans have had to watch their club lose three in a row, two of them at home, erasing the four point lead they earned after that beat-down of the Canadiens only six nights ago.

The Goalscorers – Buffalo – Strafford (24th) PPG (Vanek-Connolly); Pominville (13th) (Hecht-Gerbe); Hecht (shootout winner). Canadiens – Pacioretty (10th) PPG (Plekanec-Hamrlik); Pouliot (13th) (Desharnais-Wisniewski).

Shots on Goal – Buffalo 7-15-7 = 32 Canadiens 18-8-5 = 34

Fan’s Three Stars – First – Jochen Hecht (shootout winner – assist – 4 shots); Second – Benoit Pouliot (goal – 2 shots – plus-1) Third – Max Pacioretty (goal-2 shots)

  The Fenwick/Corsi Numbers

Game Number Team Player Number Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
20849 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 0 1 8 14 1 4 -10 4 6 -12
20849 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 0 0 6 5 2 2 1 4 3 2
20849 MTL 15 – C – HALPERN, JEFF 0 0 2 2 4 0 4 0 2 2
20849 MTL 20 – D – WISNIEWSKI, JAMES 1 1 4 17 1 4 -16 5 5 -16
20849 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 0 0 6 5 1 3 -1 3 4 -2
20849 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 1 1 25 26 9 7 1 13 19 -5
20849 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 1 7 10 1 2 -5 4 3 -4
20849 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 0 1 6 13 3 5 -10 6 4 -8
20849 MTL 45 – D – PICARD, ALEXANDRE 0 0 12 8 4 1 7 2 5 4
20849 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 0 1 7 13 1 2 -8 3 5 -10
20849 MTL 47 – D – NASH, BRENDON 0 0 6 3 2 0 5 4 8 1
20849 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 0 0 2 0 4 0 6 0 2 4
20849 MTL 53 – C – WHITE, RYAN 1 0 7 6 3 1 4 5 7 2
20849 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 1 0 8 6 3 2 4 5 9 0
20849 MTL 58 – C – DESHARNAIS, DAVID 1 0 9 5 2 1 6 5 8 3
20849 MTL 67 – L – PACIORETTY, MAX 0 0 7 7 2 2 0 4 3 1
20849 MTL 68 – D – WEBER, YANNICK 0 0 9 5 2 2 4 5 9 0
20849 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 1 0 13 6 6 2 12 4 7 9
20849 MTL 94 – C – PYATT, TOM 0 0 3 2 3 0 4 0 2 2