Forward lines and defense pairings:
Pacioretty- Galchenyuk – Andrighetto
Eller – Plekanec – Byron
De la Rose – McCarron – Lessio
Mitchell – Danault – Brown
Emelin – Pateryn
Bartley – Beaulieu
Scratches: Stefan Matteau, Brendan Gallagher (lower-body), P.K. Subban (upper-body)
Injured reserve: Carey Price, Daniel Carr, Brian Flynn, Jeff Petry, David Desharnais, Tom Gilbert, Nathan Beaulieu
The clock confirmed that this was a long game, over three hours in duration. But frankly, it seemed much longer than that. It was actually a story of two games: the first chapter was a dry and boring affair.
The Sabres had a big advantage in the first period outshooting the Canadiens 15-5. That said, high-danger scoring chances were just 4-0. While Ben Scrivens was handling a lot of rubber, perhaps his most difficult stops came as a result of mishandling the puck and wandering from the crease.
Zach Bogosian gave the Sabres a first period lead when he batted the puck in after getting his own rebound. Whether the puck was contacted with a high stick could not be determined by review.
Greg Pateryn brought the Habs even just 47 seconds into the second period with his first NHL goal. It is a tribute to Pateryn’s persistence having been selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.
While there was chippiness throughout the game, the temperature level rose considerably near the end of the second period. In a scrum around the Sabres net, goaltender Robin Lehner pushed Mike McCarron from behind. When McCarron got back on his feet, he grabbed Lehner’s throat protector setting off an explosion of emotion.
The tensions led to an almost-goalie fight with Ben Scrivens venturing out to his own blueline. Lehner seemingly was ready to engage.
The Canadiens rode the adrenaline rush to score a power-play goal 27 seconds later taking a one-goal lead to the intermission.
The rest of the game was filled with more energy from both teams. It was much more entertaining than what might have been expected from the 12th and 13th place teams in the Eastern conference.
Paul Byron was the overtime hero scoring the winner off the stick of Bogosian.
The Canadiens head to Ottawa to play the Senators on Saturday and then return home for a rare Sunday night date with the Calgary Flames.
▲ Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Greg Pateryn
▼ Mark Barberio, Nathan Beaulieu, Torrey Mitchell, Phillip Danault, Lucas Lessio, Victor Bartley