Canadiens 2, Sabres 1

Carey Price was the beneficiary of the Montreal Canadiens’

renewed defensive focus.

Price made 22 saves, and Alexandre Picard and Josh Gorges scored

to help Montreal beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Friday night.

Price, who came in having faced the most shots by any goalie who

has played three or fewer games, was rarely tested by a Buffalo

team that was blanked by New Jersey on Wednesday night.

”It makes my job a lot easier when guys can’t get second and

third whacks at pucks,” said Price, who faced 48 shots in a 4-3

overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday night. ”Our guys played

really well, and we played an excellent system game. I thought

everybody battled hard and did their job. We talked about defensive

play before the game, and the guys did a great job of taking that

to heart.”

Up 2-0 after two periods, Montreal was able to hang on for the

win after blowing a two-goal lead at home against the

Lightning.

”We felt good about our lead, but we knew they were going to

come out hard,” said Picard, who scored for the first time since

Dec. 18, 2009, at New Jersey. ”We actually got a couple chances

early in the third, then they had theirs. After that, we just shut

our blue line, and they couldn’t get in.”

The Canadiens also used a strong forecheck late in the game to

prevent the Sabres from mounting a threat. Buffalo’s last shot on

goal came with 3:48 left in regulation, and goalie Ryan Miller was

unable to get to the bench for an extra attacker until less than 16

seconds remained.

”The last two games, I wasn’t pleased with how we played away

from the puck,” Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. ”I didn’t

think we had the commitment, and our intensity needed to be better.

Tonight we stayed out of the penalty box, rolled four lines, and I

thought that was a big difference.”

Derek Roy scored and Miller made 26 saves for the Sabres, who

have dropped four straight – all at home – since a season-opening

win at Ottawa.

Before Roy’s third-period goal – his fifth of the season – the

Sabres hadn’t scored since the third period of their loss Monday to

Chicago, a streak of 118 minutes, 55 seconds.

”We had a couple of bad bounces and it seems like we’ve had bad

bounces fall on us,” Roy said. ”We’re getting outworked at home

and that’s unacceptable.”

After a scoreless first period, Picard gave the Canadiens a 1-0

lead with his first of the season 1:29 into the second. After his

slap shot from the left point was blocked by Sabres forward Patrick

Kaleta, Picard collected the puck in the lower left circle before

sending a pass to the front of the net.

The puck ricocheted in off Buffalo defenseman Chris Butler’s

skate at the top of the crease.

Montreal grabbed a 2-0 lead with just 1:05 to go in the second

when Gorges’ one-timer from the right point beat Miller on the

glove side.

The power-play goal was Montreal’s first this season, snapping

an 0-for-11 drought.

The Sabres cut the deficit in half when Roy scored 3:36 into the

third.

”We didn’t win battles early on,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff

said. ”We threw some pucks away and didn’t compete enough.”

NOTES: The game was delayed for about 15 minutes as the Sabres

recognized the 40-year anniversary of their first NHL home game

with a pregame ceremony that included a re-enactment of the

inaugural puck drop in 1970 that featured the Sabres’ first

captain, Floyd Smith. Former Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau, who

was part of the original ceremonial puck drop, wasn’t present.

Former Canadiens great Henri Richard took Beliveau’s place. …

Buffalo D Shaone Morrisonn missed his first game because of a groin

injury sustained against New Jersey on Wednesday. Butler replaced

him in the lineup. … Buffalo lost seven straight home games to

open the 1993-94 season. … The Canadiens will play four of their

next five at home, while the Sabres will play six of their next

seven on the road.