Parenteau scores shootout winner to lift Canadiens past Sabres
P.A. Parenteau snapped Montreal’s scoreless streak — then its losing streak.
"The team needed one big-time," Parenteau said after the Canadiens’ 2-1 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. "I needed one, too. We were all struggling offensively, so it’s nice to see that."
Parenteau opened the scoring 19 seconds into the third period with the Canadiens’ first goal in 107 minutes, and added his third shootout winner of the season with a wrist shot over Michal Neuvirth.
"For us to play back-to-back, I liked our effort," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We were using our speed to create A-plus chances."
Dustin Tokarski made 31 saves to help Montreal end a three-game losing streak that included back-to-back home losses to Calgary and Chicago.
"After those two performances we had on our home ice," Parenteau said, "Any kind of win was going to be good tonight."
Drew Stafford tied it for Buffalo on a power play at 3:14 of the third, and Neuvirth made 30 saves.
"Last game we got a little lucky on the shootout," Neuvirth said. "Today, unfortunately they did."
Cody McCormick had a short-handed scoring opportunity in the slot midway through the third, but his backhander was kicked away by Tokarski.
The Sabres had a strong stretch in the Canadiens’ zone with about 5 minutes to play that was foiled by Tokarski after Brian Gionta found Zemgus Girgensons with a no-look pass.
"You know, two points is huge right now," said Tokarski, who had a shutout in Buffalo on March 16. "Any time you can win on the road and have a nice flight home it’s good."
The Sabres carried the play in the first period, finishing with a 9-5 shots advantage.
Montreal came to life in the second period, but Neuvirth made three early saves, the best a point-blank stop on Max Pacioretty.
Drew Stafford had a prime chance for the Sabres midway through the second, but Tokarski made the save. Moments later, the goalie made a sliding skate save on Chris Stewart.
"He made some key saves at the right time," Therrien said. "And this is what you’re looking at for your goalie, give yourselves a chance to win."
Then came Parenteau, who slid a rebound past a prone Neuvirth to start the third period.
Buffalo got a power play, but lost a defenseman when Jiri Sekac boarded Nikita Zadorov at 2:23. Zadorov covered his face with a towel and immediately left for the locker room.
And the Sabres took advantage when Stafford took a pass from Tyler Myers and beat Tokarski to the short side for the Sabres’ second power-play goal in 46 chances this season.
"We battled back, we got the goal," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "The one thing about shootouts, those things are skill competitions, and sometimes you win them, sometimes you don’t. But the effort tonight I thought was really good."
In overtime, Neuvirth made the biggest stop, sliding across to stop Pacioretty with 90 seconds to go.
NOTES: Montreal lost Michael Bournival for the night with an upper-body injury when Brian Flynn checked him hard in the corner in the first period. Bournival skated off the ice favoring his right shoulder. … Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis had his 100th career assist.