Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Saturday night’s game between the Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre.
Coach Michel Therrien engaged in another round of line-juggling and it paid off with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
“We’re a third of the way into the season and I’ve been happy with some of our lines but I’m looking for more balance,” Theriren said. “It’s too easy to defend against us when we have only one line going.
Max Pacioretty found himself on a line with Tomas Plekanec and they clicked at 15:30 of the first period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.
“Patch did all the work on that goal,” said Plekanec. “He uses his size to create some space in the front and when I took the puck behind the net, I knew he was going to be there. He took a pretty good hit as he shot.”
Travis Moen took advantage of the opportunity to play with Erik Cole and David Desharnais and he scored what proved to be the winning goal at 13:34 of the second period when he scored on the rebound of a shot by Tomas Kaberle.
“That’s a typical goal for me,” said Moen, who has six goals this season. “It wasn’t a particularly hard shot but there was traffic in front and I don’t think (Buffalo goaltender Ryan) Miller was able to see it until the last second. It hit his pad but he wasn’t to control it.”
Carey Price lost his shutout bid at 19:12 of the second period when Jordan Leopold scored on a one-timer off a pass by Cody Hodgson.
“They were out there in a defensive role but Leopold cranked that one,” said Price, who made 24 saves. “It was so quick and I didn’t have time to react.”
The Sabres, who beat Montreal Thursday night in Buffalo, pressed for the tie early in the third period. They had seven shots on net before Alexei Emelin added an insurance goal at 6:31. The scoring play was a bit unusual because it involved three defencemen. Rafael Diaz left the ice after chipping the puck ahead to Andrei Markov. Emelin replaced Diaz spot and scored his first goal of the season after taking a drop pass from, Markov.
The Canadiens are home to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night before travelling to New York Wednesday to face the Rangers. They are one point out of first place in the Eastern Conference but face a major test with eight of their next 11 games on the road.