Jeff Skinner Buffalo Sabers beat Montreal Canadiens

MONTREAL — After suffering eight straight losses, the Buffalo Sabers can finally breathe.

Jeff Skinner had two goals and three assists as Buffalo earned a resounding 7-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

“He’s taking a load off my mind, I can tell you personally,” Sabers coach Don Granato said. “It’s fun to see guys play that way, obviously.”

Granato said the streak has been a learning experience for his young team, whose last victory was on November 2.

“They care and work and we are young,” he added. “If I had a bigger team, I wouldn’t be in these situations and you go through streaks. They know where they are. These guys get better because of these things.”

Tage Thompson recorded a goal and three assists on the night, while Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch each had a goal and two assists. JJ Peterka and Henri Jokiharju added the others for Buffalo (8-11-0).

Craig Anderson made 29 saves.

Cole Caufield and Sean Monahan scored for Montreal (9-9-1). Jake Allen had a tough day in the office allowing seven goals on 38 shots.

“I think it was a bad game overall,” Montreal defenseman David Savard said. “We have to get over it. And obviously we have some things to learn, which is that bad start in the first period and he left us behind.

“It’s a couple games now and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready tomorrow to play our game. We’ve been in every game so far if we played our style and our system, and we didn’t.” do that tonight.

The Canadiens struggled on the power play, going 0-for-6 with the man advantage, including a 4-on-3 chance midway through the second period.

“I think the first two power plays had good chances, the last four weren’t very strong,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “We want to create scoring chances and I think apart from tonight our power play in the last 10 games has been pretty good. It’s just that tonight wasn’t our night.

Meanwhile, the Sabers jumped out of the blocks with a 3-0 lead going into the first 2:13. It was his second fastest three-goal tally to start a game in franchise history.

Thompson found Dahlin in the slot to make it 1-0 just 35 seconds after the puck dropped.

Seventeen seconds later, the Sabers attacked Allen’s crease and Peterka scored Buffalo’s second of the night.

In an attempt to turn the momentum around, Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman dropped the gloves on Sabers forward Tyson Jost after Montreal’s Michael Pezetta was called to tackle.

Instead, Tuch seized the opportunity to triple Buffalo’s lead with a wrist snap on the power play.

Tuch said the team was “on a mission” and Anderson had something to say about how the team helped his blue line and his performance on both sides of the ice.

“We had a lot of talks, but Andy has been talking about it a lot and he’s playing on the D side. I thought everyone did that tonight,” Tuch said. “And you know what, if you made a mistake, the guy who has your back is on the D side. I thought we could really help each other out there.

“That helps on defense and leads on offense a lot of times, so it’s something I thought we did in the first 10 games and now we’re back at it tonight.”

The Habs cut the deficit to two goals when Caufield sent a slap shot past Anderson at 2:57 of the first.

Buffalo regained its three-goal cushion 11:21 into the second when Thompson found Skinner in the slot with a backhand pass and the winger scored his sixth of the season.

Montreal made it a 4-2 game when Monahan grabbed the puck from center ice, drove it down, and scored on his own rebound at 13:57.

The Sabers increased their lead to three when Tuch rounded the net and sent a backhand pass to Jokiharju, who beat Allen for the first time this season at 3:48 of the third.

Thompson added his team’s sixth goal at 6:39 of the last frame with a wrist shot over Allen’s glove.

Skinner froze play on a timer from the right faceoff circle at 14:26.

DAHLIN’S COMING OF AGE

Rasmus Dahlin is off to a sizzling start to his fifth season in the National Hockey League. The first overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft has recorded 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in his last 10 games.

SKINNER VS. MONTREAL

Jeff Skinner has all the games against the Canadiens marked on his schedule. The 30-year-old winger had two goals and three assists on Tuesday night, bringing his total against the Habs to 40 points (23 goals, 17 assists) in 37 games.

“I think sometimes it’s a bit lucky, it just happens,” Skinner said. “I think for me to have that kind of success, it usually means that the team is playing well. I think our line played pretty good tonight, so you benefit from that.

“And just as it falls on the schedule. Sometimes you have some good games and that increases those kinds of numbers, but I think it’s a lucky thing and a good team game.”

NEXT

The Canadiens will travel to Columbus overnight to take on the Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

The Sabers will return to Buffalo to host the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 22, 2022.

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