A win, but not easy
The Buffalo Sabres are the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
But they have a great goaltender in Ryan Miller, and your Montreal Canadiens have a habit of making things difficult in games they should win easily.
A third-period goal by Brendan Gallagher gave his team some breathing room after the Sabres came back from a 2-0 deficit to make the game interesting.
Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais (also on a power play) staked the CH to their early lead.
Andrei Markov assisted on all three goals.
Matt Moulson scored late in the second period for the home team's only goal.
Carey Price made 24 saves.
The Canadiens had 31 shots on Miller.
Gallagher seals the deal
Brendan Gallagher's ninth of the year was a smokin' one-timer during a late-game power play.
The Canadiens outshot Buffalo 15-11 over the final 20 minutes.
The worst lead in hockey
David Desharnais tipping in P.K. Subban's shot on a Canadiens power play made it 2-0.
But the Sabres didn't fold.
Drew Stafford bodied Subban off the puck behind the Canadiens' net and fed Matt Moulson, unaccountably all alone in front of Carey Price..
As he is wont to do, Moulson buried the chance for his ninth of the season.
Buffalo outshot the Canadiens 10-7.
And the first-period goal we thought was Andrei Markov's hit Alex Galchenyuk's leg on its way past Ryan Miller, giving the kid six on the season.
Markov buries one
Using Alex Galchenyuk crashing Ryan Miller's crease as a decoy, Lars Eller beat Drew Stafford and fed a perfect drop pass to Andrei Markov, who fired a shot that ticked in off Galchenyuk's leg..
The Canadiens killed a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Galchenyuk and will start the second period on a power play.
Shots were 9-4 Canadiens, but Luke Adam missed an open net for Buffalo and Ville Leino rang one off the post past Carey Price.
The Sabres have given up the first goal in 21 of their 26 starts this season.
They had one shot at even-strength in the first period.
Even at this early stage of the NHL season, there's a 17-point gap between your Montreal Canadiens and their Atlantic Division "rivals", the Buffalo Sabres.
The Canadiens have scored 20 more goals than Buffalo.
They've allowed 28 fewer.
The Canadiens have won three in a row. The Sabres are on a four-game losing streak.
Buffalo is 2-10-1 at home, the Canadiens 6-4-0 on the road.
Heck, why play the game at all? Just award two points to the visiting team in Buffalo and let's get on with the serious part of the schedule.
But funny things can happen in a game played on a slippery surface, with Ryan Miller standing at one end of it.
The Sabres won three of the teams' five games last season. This is the first of four ostensible mismatches in 2013-'14.