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National Hockey League
Buffalo 2, Montreal 1
When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Referees: Garrett Rank, Kelly Sutherland
Linesmen: Shandor Alphonso, Devin Berg
Attendance: 18815

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Following one of their worst losses of the season, the Buffalo Sabres gave their fans something to cheer about in their final home game of the season.

Rasmus Ristolainen and Tyler Ennis scored to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. It was a complete effort for Buffalo, which surrendered three goals in 43 seconds two nights earlier in a 4-2 loss to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

"It's good ending on a good note," Sabres center Jack Eichel said. "We hadn't played well here the last few games. They're a good hockey team and I think we held them pretty in check."

Robin Lehner made 31 saves, helping the Sabres (33-35-12) snap a three-game losing streak.

"This was a more complete game," Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly said. "I thought we did a lot of things better. We played a bit more together, we supported each other and it's a nice win. That's a good hockey team over there and we stayed strong, didn't deviate from the game plan and it's nice to see it pay off."

Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal, which had a five-game winning streak end. Carey Price made 28 saves.

"I'm not going to say totally unhappy but I think it was an ordinary game on our part," Canadiens head coach Claude Julien said. "We did some good things. We had some great scoring chances. We didn't finish well."

The Canadiens (46-25-9) had little to play for after clinching the Atlantic Division title with a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Monday, but they said motivation was not an issue.

"Not at all," Montreal captain Max Pacioretty said. "Suit up and play no matter what the situation is. We didn't have to find motivation at all. Our line had a lot of really, really good looks, got a little bit too cute but felt really good about the chemistry and finding each other and fore-checking. It's a nice time of year to have a good feeling like that and have that chemistry so hopefully we can keep continuing with that."

Ristolainen opened the scoring 6:01 into the game on a shot through traffic from the point. It was his sixth goal of the season.

Ennis made it 2-0 with 8:25 remaining in the second. With several players battling to regain the puck in the slot after a shot by Evander Kane, Ennis scooped the puck into the net.

It was just the fifth goal of the season for the speedy forward, who is beginning to feel like himself again after missing half of the year with a groin injury and most of last season due to a concussion.

"It's been tough and frustrating," Ennis said. "It's been a long time since I feel like I've played healthy hockey and enjoyed making plays and being out there and being quick. Tonight was fun."

Plekanec got the Canadiens on the board 54 seconds into the third period. Alexander Radulov fed Plekanec to set up a breakaway, and Plekanec's hard deke to his backhand fooled Lehner for Plekanec's 10th goal of the season.

Montreal outshot Buffalo 9-6 in the final period and had a couple good chances in the closing seconds but was unable to find an equalizer.

"Sometimes you've got to give your team a pass," Julien said. "Tonight wasn't a terrible game, it was just an ordinary game in our minds."

NOTES: Sabres RW Kyle Okposo has missed four games due to an illness and, according to multiple reports, is in the Neuro Surgical ICU at Buffalo General Hospital. The Sabres released the following statement regarding Okposo: "Kyle continues to be under the care of our doctors as he deals with symptoms from an illness. Out of respect to Kyle and his family, we will have no further comment at this time." ... Montreal D Alexei Emelin left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Each team had six scratches. Okposo, D Jake McCabe, G Anders Nilsson, D Taylor Fedun, LW William Carrier and LW C.J. Smith were scratched for the Sabres. ... D Shea Weber, D Jordie Benn, RW Michael McCarron, G Al Montoya, LW Andreas Martinsen and C Steve Ott were scratched for the Canadiens. ... This was the 275th meeting all-time between the two teams.
Top Game Performances
 
Montreal   Buffalo
Tomas Plekanec 1 Points Tyler Ennis 1
Tomas Plekanec 1 Goals Tyler Ennis 1
Paul Byron 1 Assists Jack Eichel 1
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Carey Price .933 Save Percentage Robin Lehner .969
Carey Price 28 Saves Robin Lehner 31
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Montreal 32 1 0-1 0-0 0 28
Buffalo 30 2 0-0 1-1 2 16
Upcoming Games
  • Buffalo will play their next game on the road against Florida. The Sabres have a W/L % of .364 after a win and .447 after a loss.
  • Montreal will play their next game at home against Tampa Bay. The Canadiens have a W/L % of .553 after a win and .606 after a loss.