Canadiens 3, Sabres 1
With 101 shots on goal this season, Brian Gionta has faith that being among the NHL's leaders in that category will result in pucks finding their way into the back of the net.
That was the case Saturday night when Gionta had two goals and an assist, and Carey Price made 34 saves in the Montreal Canadiens' 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Gionta set up Andrei Kostitsyn's goal during a two-man advantage in the first, then added goals 4:20 apart in the second to help the Canadiens rebound from a 3-0 loss in Atlanta on Friday.
''That's one thing, you just keep putting it on the net and hopefully things will go in,'' said Gionta, who took eight of Montreal's 33 shots. ''Like I've said all along getting the chances, getting the opportunities is the big thing. They'll find their way in eventually.''
Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist, and Tomas Plekanec also had two points.
''We played pretty hard tonight,'' said Price, who was rested for just the second time this season Friday. ''We all wanted to bounce back from (Friday) night's game and I thought everybody came out with the right mentality and played hard the whole game.''
Price, who got his 14th win to surpass his total from last season, came within 1:13 of his fourth shutout in his last nine starts, but Jordan Leopold scored for Buffalo.
''With a minute left we had a good chance to get him another shutout and unfortunately we just lost a draw and they found it,'' Gionta said.
Ryan Miller stopped 30 shots for Buffalo, which beat Toronto 3-1 in Friday but has lost four of six.
''The opportunities were there,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. ''You can't stand here and talk about it any more, though. Some of those have got to turn. I mean, Price has been on his game, he played well, but we did have a couple that I thought, 'If we hit the right spot, we're going to score.'''
Montreal, which has won seven of its last 10, has won each of the three meetings this season between the Northeast Division rivals.
The Canadiens took advantage of a lengthy 5-on-3 opportunity in the first to open the scoring. Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera put the puck over the glass at 12:32, just 22 seconds after Steve Montador was called for hooking. Kostitsyn went to his backhand to put away a rebound of Gionta's shot from the left edge of the crease for his ninth goal at 13:41.
''We talk about not taking penalties on a nightly basis, especially in here, where they kind of thrive on that,'' Miller said. ''We got off on the wrong foot.''
Kostitsyn got his second point when he and Gionta went in on a 2-on-1 in the second. Gionta worked a give-and-go with Kostitsyn and put a shot past Miller off the return pass to make it 2-0 12:26 into the middle period. Plekanec, who assisted on Kostitsyn's goal, set up Gionta's second goal of the period at 16:46.
NOTES: Sabres captain Craig Rivet sat out his third straight game. It was the fifth time this season the former Montreal defenseman was a healthy scratch. He also missed five games from Nov. 10-17 because of food poisoning. ... It was Gionta's first multigoal game of the season. He had five two-goal games last season, his first with Montreal, when he had a team-leading 28 goals. ... Canadiens G Alex Auld backed up Price for the 22nd time in 24 games after making 44 saves in his second start Friday.