Game 79: Halak, Canadiens blank Sabres

Canadiens defenceman Ryan O’Byrne celebrates his first goal in 25 months. He’s greeted by forward Travis Moen.
François Lacasse, NHLI via Getty Images

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At a Glance: Now this is a perfect weekend: the Canadiens won their second game in as many nights and goaltender Jaroslav Halak earned two straight shutouts. Montreal whitewashed the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 at the Bell Centre Saturday, 24 hours after having scored a 1-0 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia. This time, Halak made 29 saves to run his streak of shutout goaltending to 144:01. Canadiens defenceman Ryan O’Byrne nearly scored on his own net early in the first period, took a roughing penalty a few minutes later, then at 12:03 scored his first goal of the season – and his first in 25 months to the day – on a redirected snap shot from the point. Tom Pyatt got his second of the season at 2:41 of the second, converting the rebound of a Maxim Lapierre shot; that was something coach Jacques Martin has been wanting to see more of from his team. Then in the third period, Sergei Kostitsyn finished off a fine play with Dominic Moore feeding Travis Moen, who found SK74 in front of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller for his seventh goal of the season and second point of the night.

Key Moments: Good night for Sergei Kostitsyn, the game’s third star, but let’s give the nod to big defenceman Ryan O’Byrne for his first goal in more than two years.

What It Means: The Canadiens remained in sixth spot in the Eastern Conference with 86 points and a 39-32-8 record. The Boston Bruins, 2-1 overtime winners in Toronto, are next with 84, while the New York Rangers, 4-1 winners over the Panthers in Florida, pulled even in points with idle Philadelphia with 82 points, through the Flyers have more wins.

What’s Next: And then there were three: the Canadiens hit the road Monday for a game Tuesday in Long Island against the New York Islanders, head on to Raleigh for a Thursday match against the Carolina Hurricanes, then return home to wrap up the 82-game regular season next Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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