Miller’s shutout leads Sabres over Habs
Miller turned aside 30 shots—including Cammalleri’s shot with just over 12 seconds remaining—for his second straight win after being chosen for the U.S. Olympic team on Friday.
“He just gets lost out there,” Miller said. “I just kind of knew somebody was there for a shot—it was probably him. I saw him disappear while the puck was on the other side there and cycled up to the top.”
The save, Miller’s second on Cammalleri in the final minute, secured his 17th shutout in 299 NHL regular-season games.
“I think if Cammalleri had it back again he’d like to shoot it at a different spot, but Ryan read it and got to the middle of the net,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
Connolly scored his fourth goal in four games in the second period for Buffalo, which extended its Northeast Division lead to seven points over Boston. The Sabres, 3-0-1 against Montreal this season, have won 14 of 20 (14-4-2) since Nov. 27.
“That was a pretty solid effort,” Ruff said. “It was maybe a little sluggish the first 10 minutes, but after that I liked our compete, I liked our battle. I thought we made it really tough on them to get high-quality opportunities.”
The Canadiens, playing in Montreal for the first time since returning from a 6-1 road trip, lost their fourth straight at home.
“I thought we played a fairly solid game,” said Brian Gionta(notes), whose backhand pass set up the second of Cammalleri’s two late scoring opportunities. “We had some good chances, but Miller is a good goaltender. You’ve got to get some traffic in front of him, and he saw too much.”
“It’s frustrating to lose, especially 1-0, but you’ve got to give those guys credit,” Price said. “They’re a good hockey team, they’ve got a good goalie, they believe in their system and that’s what they do to teams. You look at their goals-against-average and they’re one of the lowest in the league and that’s the reason why.”
Markov, who missed the last four games of the 2008-09 season and the playoffs because of a knee injury, had three goals and eight assists during his streak.
The Russian defenseman recorded at least one point in every game since returning to the lineup after missing 35 games while recovering from a sliced tendon on the front of his left foot sustained in Montreal’s season opener.
Benoit Pouliot(notes) made his home debut for the Canadiens and had some of Montreal’s best scoring chances, including a goal-mouth deflection on Brian Gionta’s pass with just over 5 minutes remaining.
Miller (23-8-3) made a huge glove save on Tomas Plekanec’s(notes) backhand shot during a power play in the first. He kept the game scoreless in the second when he stuck out his left pad to deny Pouliot’s chance after the winger was left alone in the slot.
Connolly scored 6:56 into the second. He tapped in a loose puck from the crease for his 11th of the season after his redirection of Jason Pominville’s(notes) centering pass from the left side struck the left post.
“I liked their line, really liked their line,” Ruff said.
NOTES: Sabres RW Patrick Kaleta(notes) missed his third straight game because of a leg injury. Defensemen Nathan Paetsch(notes) and Andrej Sekera(notes) were healthy scratches. … Buffalo is 13-1-4 in one-goal games. … Cammalleri leads Montreal with 20 goals in 44 games. … Canadiens LW Andrei Kostitsyn(notes) was out of the Canadiens’ lineup because of an undisclosed injury sustained Wednesday. His brother, Sergei, missed his second straight game due to a lower-body injury. … Montreal D Ryan O’Byrne(notes) missed the game for personal reasons. … Halak was the Canadiens player of the month for December.