Max Pacioretty scores in overtime, Canadiens edge Sabres 2-1

MONTREAL (AP) Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens are picking up speed after a slow start.

Pacioretty scored at 3:08 of overtime to give Montreal a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. Pacioretty broke in alone and beat Chad Johnson with a backhand shot.

Andrew Shaw also scored for Montreal, and Charlie Lindgren made 34 saves to improve to 4-1-0. The Canadiens have won four of five to improve to 8-9-1.

”We’re trending the right way,” said Pacioretty, who set a team record with his 10th-career overtime goal. ”We don’t want to stop this train with a poor performance.

”We felt the first period was very poor. We don’t want to lose the momentum we have right now in terms of our confidence. Emotions were high because we felt this was a very important game for our team.”

They caught a break in overtime when Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu broke his stick. That allowed Phillip Danault to feather a pass ahead and send Pacioretty in alone to score.

”A power play with fresh ice in the third gave us an opportunity to get back in the game and, from there, we put our foot on the gas,” Pacioretty said. ”We were skating much better.”

Ryan O’Reilly scored for Buffalo. The Sabres were coming off a 4-1 home loss to Florida on Friday night.

Buffalo struck first on a power play with 6 seconds left in the first period when O’Reilly scored into an open side during a scramble in Lindgren’s crease.

Montreal tied it on a power play 1:01 into the third when Shaw tipped Jonathan Drouin’s wrist shot inside the right post.

The 23-year-old Lindgren is 6-1-0 in seven career NHL games. His parents were in the stands.

”Playing at the Bell Centre on a Saturday night – it doesn’t get better than that,” Lindgren said. ”I’m trying to stay in the groove. I want to be confident out there. I don’t want to be surprised by what I do. It’s what I expect. It’s a lot of fun.”

NOTES: The Canadiens announced that goalie Al Montoya has a concussion and is out indefinitely. Montoya hasn’t played since Nov. 4 in Winnipeg, although he dressed as backup to Lindgren for three games. Zach Fucale, called up Friday from AHL Laval, backed up Lindgren against the Sabres. No. 1 goalie Carey Price has missed five games with a lower-body injury. … Josh Gorges returned after missing nine games for Buffalo and got into a first-period fight with Jordie Benn after taking a long run to put a hit on Brendan Gallagher.


Sabres: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.

Canadiens: Host Columbus on Tuesday night.

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