Most teams tend to tighten up after falling behind by even one goal. The Buffalo Sabres appear to pride themselves on doing their best work when trailing by two.
The Sabres seek their NHL-leading 19th victory Friday when they host the Montreal Canadiens at HSBC Arena in a Northeast Division matchup.
For the seventh time this season, Buffalo successfully rallied from a two-goal deficit to win Wednesday, this time posting a 7-4 victory over Toronto. After allowing a pair of first-period goals while unsuccessfully trying to kill off 5-on-3 power plays in the first four minutes, the Sabres regrouped to score four times.
Daniel Briere finally snapped a 4-all tie with his second goal of the game with 5:19 to play.
“There was a lot of frustration down 2-0,” said Briere, who scored his third game-winner of the year and had his third multigoal game this month. “Frustration at ourselves for taking penalties like that, but at the same time we believed we could come back.”
Ryan Miller finished with 32 saves as the Sabres (18-3-1) improved to 8-2-1 at home. Buffalo has a league-high 37 points and is also the only team with more than 100 goals (101). The Sabres have scored 14 goals in their last two games and are 9-0-0 when netting five or more.
“I had red in my eyes for a while,” said Miller, who is 11-2-1 despite a 2.78 goals-against average that ranks 21st among all goaltenders. “I was really angry and had to calm myself down. It helps when your guys can put some goals in.”
Miller is 6-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA and .935 save percentage in seven lifetime starts against the Canadiens.
Sabres right wing Maxim Afinogenov has a point in all four games he’s played since returning from a shoulder injury, totaling three goals and four assists in that span.
The Canadiens (12-5-3) are very familiar with Buffalo’s ability to rally, having been victim to one such comeback. Montreal squandered leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 in its season-opening 5-4 shootout loss to the Sabres on Oct. 6.
But Guy Carbonneau’s team is enjoying its best stretch of the season, winning four of its last five. The Habs are coming off a 4-2 victory Wednesday over the Minnesota Wild as Radek Bonk snapped a 2-all tie with 7:27 remaining.
“We sucked in the second period,” said Canadiens center Saku Koivu, who had an assist. “I don’t know what happened, we were just absolutely terrible.”
Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet extended his personal winning streak to four games with a 36-save effort, stopping 32 in the first two periods. Huet, who is 7-2-2 overall, has yielded just seven goals during his streak.