MONTREAL (AP)—The Buffalo Sabres keep finding ways to overcome their injury woes.
Brian Campbell scored 2:15 into overtime and Tim Connolly had a goal and two assists as Buffalo extended its season-high winning streak to five games with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Campbell, who scored the winning goal in Friday’s 3-1 victory over the Canadiens, took a pass from Connolly and beat Jose Theodore with a shot into the top of the net.
“He’s just full steam ahead,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “He took about a 20-second break in overtime and he was right back out there. I was amazed that he just skipped one short shift and he was the fastest guy out there again.”
Both teams have dealt with injury problems recently, and while Montreal has struggled since losing Alex Kovalev to knee surgery, Buffalo has excelled despite injuries to team scoring leader Daniel Briere and left wing J.P. Dumont.
“We’ve just been fighting and working hard—a lot of luck, too,” Campbell said. “You need that to win games.”
Campbell also assisted on Connolly’s power-play goal in the second as the Sabres improved to 8-0-1 since a 6-1 loss in Ottawa on Nov. 12.
“He’s making good decisions on the power play and he’s just brimming with confidence, and we’re reaping the benefits of it,” Ruff said.
Chris Drury scored the Sabres’ second power-play goal 15:45 into the third to tie it at 2.
“We were down 2-0 against a good team and we were able to battle back and get a point, then get another one in overtime,” Drury said.
Michael Ryder scored his team-high 11th goal and assisted on linemate Pierre Dagenais’ second of the season for Montreal. The Canadiens lost their fourth in a row, extending their longest losing streak of the year. Montreal has dropped six of seven, including a 4-0 loss in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Canadiens captain Saku Koivu missed his first game of the season because of a groin injury. Andrei Kostitsyn, Montreal’s first-round choice and 10th overall in the 2003 draft, made just one 39-second appearance in the first period in his NHL debut after being called up from Hamilton of the AHL.
After facing the Eastern Conference-leading Senators one player short overall and with only five defensemen, the Canadiens’ defense got a boost against Buffalo with Sheldon Souray returning to the lineup after missing four games with a groin injury.
“The guys know that when guys are injured, we have to step it up,” Ryder said. “We never really got the breaks tonight and they managed to get a late goal there.”
Montreal opened the scoring 8:06 in as Mike Ribeiro fought off Buffalo forward Mike Grier for the puck in the Sabres’ zone and passed to Ryder, who fired a quick shot in front of the crease past Biron and into the top right corner.
Theodore came up with a nice left pad save on Campbell’s point shot during a Buffalo power play early in the second to maintain Montreal’s 1-0 lead.
Ryder became the playmaker on Dagenais’ second of the season on a Canadiens power play at 3:53. With Henrik Tallinder already in the penalty box, Ryder kept his cool as a delayed penalty was signaled against Connolly, who clipped Dagenais with a high stick in front of the net.
Though the Bell Centre sellout crowd of 21,273 urged him to give up the puck for the two-man advantage, Ryder’s sharp pass found Dagenais, who fired a quick shot past Biron’s right arm to make it 2-0.
“I knew they had another penalty, but you kind of block that out sometimes,” Ryder said of the crowd noise.
Connolly drew Buffalo within one at 12:04 when he deflected Campbell’s point shot for a power-play goal.
Campbell has three assists and five points in four games against the Canadiens this season. … Canadiens C Radek Bonk hasn’t scored a goal in his last 34 regular-season games, including 19 this season, his first with Montreal. Bonk last scored on Feb. 3, 2004, for Ottawa at New Jersey. … Montreal has sold out each of its 14 home games this season. … Kostitsyn, a 20-year-old native of Belarussia, had five goals and 11 assists in 24 games with Hamilton.