[email protected]: Coming up short in OT hurts

BUF@MTL: Coming up short in OT hurts
Ristolainen OT goal gives Sabres win over Habs
MONTREAL — A very discouraged Carey Price put all the blame on himself for Montreals latest loss.

Price gave up a season-high six goals as the Canadiens lost 6-5 in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

The loss marked the first time this season the Canadiens have suffered consecutive losses. The ability to rebound after a loss has been a point of pride for this team and Julien said it was important to regroup at practice Friday and get ready for a visit from the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. The Golden Knights defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3 Thursday.

“Lets just cut to the chase really,” said Price, who made 25 saves. “I just didnt play very good tonight.”

Video: Rasmus Ristolainen blisters home game-winner to give Sabres OT win

The 31-year-old saw his save percentage drop to .892 and his goals-against-average soar to 3.07. The Canadiens goaltender has a 5-5-2 record this season. Hes given up at least three goals in eight games this season.

Coach Claude Julien was willing to give his goaltender the benefit of the doubt. He conceded that Price is still trying to find his game, but noted that it was more difficult when his teammates aren’t doing the job in front of the net.

“Its all upstairs,” said Price, who earns $10.5 million per year for the next eight seasons. “I gotta figure it out.

That game will mark Max Pacioretty’s return to Montreal. The perennial 30-goal scorer has only two goals in 12 games. Tomas Tatar, who came to Montreal in the deal that sent Pacioretty to Vegas, scored his sixth of the season Thursday.

With the game tied 5-5, Rasmus Ristolainen scored 1:38 into overtime with a slap shot that blew right past Price after a failed 3-on-1 for the Canadiens at the other end. It was the only shot in overtime.

Price failed to control a rebound in his crease when Vladimir Sobotka put Buffalo ahead 2-1 at 14:40 of the first period.

“It’s a team thing,” Julien said. “Absolutely, it’s a team thing. So we’re not playing well defensively in front of him — it’s pretty obvious — and when you’re not you’re certainly not helping your goaltender who is trying to find his game to the level that we all know he can be. Put this game aside tonight, he’s been good, OK. But I think everybody knows he can be great and he’s trying to find that part of his game that will bring him to that next level. But when you play the way we played tonight in front of him, it’s pretty hard to find that part of your game. We were soft in front of the net, we were sloppy.”

After giving up three goals on the games first 12 shots, some Bell Centre fans cheered sarcastically when Price made an easy save on a trickling puck.

The coach added about his $84-million goalie: “We can attack him and say he needs to be better. I think he knows that. But at the same time, we have to look at ourselves in front of him and what we do, and we’re not helping him right now. The one thing I can tell you guys is that it’s been a couple of games now and it’s important for us to come back on Saturday (against the Vegas Golden Knights at the Bell Centre) and play a solid game. We need to stop that as soon as possible. That’s what we have to focus on starting now until at least tomorrow morning when we regroup (at practice).”

In the second period, Price couldnt find the puck after Jack Eichels shot hit the post — an easy goal for Jeff Skinner as the Sabres went up 4-3.

“If anything he needs to feel like we have his back and we do,” said Claude Julien of Price. “We know how good he can be. He needs to know that his coach and his coaching staff are behind him and believe in him and theres no reason not to with what hes accomplished.

“He’s an outstanding goalie, he’s one of the best in the league,” said Peca, who signed a two-year, US$2.6-million contract with the Canadiens as a free agent during the summer. “He made some saves for us when we needed it. They had a lot of Grade A scoring chances and sometimes when you’re giving those up you hang your goalie out to dry a little bit. He’s had our back all season. So regardless of the result today, he’s a gamer and he’ll respond and so will we.”

Sabres outlast Canadiens for OT victory

“Unfortunately that position is one that you can really pinpoint. Thats the sad part of a goaltenders position. Were looking towards him when the rest of our team wasnt any better.”

Getting that injury in San Jose, the team got hot, Beaulieu said on the Sabres website after the teams morning skate at Bell Centre. The biggest thing I can do is just stay ready and get better. In this league, you get the opportunity to get on the ice every day. I just tried to make the best of it, not try to stress out too much about it. I liked where my games at. Its just a good chance to put another foot forward tonight.

The Canadiens (8-5-3), which were coming a 5-3 defeat to the New York Rangers, lost two consecutive games for the first time this season.

“Especially on the road, its tough when you give goals right back because you work so hard for that lead,” said Skinner. “It was one of those games where you had to stick with it and sooner or later somebody on the team would step up with a big play.”

Share Share Canadiens vs. Sabres: Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Dominick Gravel-USA TODAY Sports Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres How to watch Puck drop: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PSTIn the Canadiens region: TSN2, TSN Direct (English), RDS, RDS Direct (French)In the In the Sabres region: MSG-BuffaloElsewhere: NHL.tv/Rogers NHL Live

Buffalo went up 1-0 through Sobotkas first at 6:08 before Jonathan Drouin equalized on a 2-on-1 with Max Domi at 9:14.

The Canadiens have been good this season, and one indicator that shows this team might be a legitimate threat is that they have not yet conceded two games in a row. Tonight against the Sabres, they will attempt to avoid a second straight loss for the first time this season, following one against the Rangers earlier this week.

Call of the Wilde: Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres go to overtime

After Sobotka made it 2-1, Montreal tied it up just 10 seconds later when Matthew Peca netted his first in a Canadiens uniform on a bank shot from behind the net.

Conor Sheary, playing his 200th NHL game, made it 3-2 at 15:52 before Andrew Shaw jumped on a loose puck in the crease to tie the game 34 seconds later.

Montreal is looking to avenge an earlier loss this season at the Bell Centre against Buffalo, where they lost 4-3 after a late push by the Sabres. Max Domi could be the hero again tonight for the Canadiens, as he scored twice in that loss to Buffalo.

Tomas Tatar got Montreal level again with his sixth of the season at 10:17 on another 2-on-1 with Domi, who registered three assists and extended his point streak to five games.

After tying the game four times, the Canadiens took their first lead when Nicolas Deslauriers scored a short-handed goal – his first of the season – when he beat Linus Ullmark between the pads at 18:03 of the second.

“Im going to use the word sloppy. Its just as simple as that. Were missing the same engagement that we had earlier in the year,” said Julien, following the 6-5 defeat at the Bell Centre. “Its been like that for a few games now that were sliding a bit defensively. It takes a lot better engagement than were seeing lately. Whether it be errors or failing to come back defensively, there are small details in our game that demand us to be more assertive. Thats what were missing right now.”

Ullmark gave up five goals on 32 shots after two periods. Carter Hutton, in relief, made fives saves in the third.

“The forwards have a huge role in our end. Weve got to close up on plays, shut them down before they can get things started and before they can get their speed. We didnt do that,” said Andrew Shaw, who snapped a 10-game goal drought on Thursday night with his second tally of the season. “We gave them too much room and they skated around us… I just think we were loose in our own end as a five-man unit. Its something we need to clean up.”

“That was a really bad game,” said Ristolainen. “You cant have those games. This game is going to make us tighter and were going to grow as a group. An ugly win.”

MONTREAL — Rasmus Ristolainen scored at 1:38 of overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 6-5 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.

It goes without saying that Peca would have preferred to light the lamp in a winning effort, but he was pleased nonetheless to finally put the puck in the back of the net in his 15th game with the Habs.

Ristolainen drove the right side and scored on a slapshot. It was his fourth regular-season overtime goal, a record for Buffalo defensemen.

MONTREAL – After watching his group fall to the Sabres in overtime on Thursday night, head coach Claude Julien didnt mince words about the Canadiens performance during his postgame press conference.

Jeff Skinner and Vladimir Sobotka each had two goals, and Conor Sheary scored for the Sabres (8-6-2), who blew four one-goal leads.

“I thought that through the lineup it was good that we stuck with it,” said Buffalo forward Jack Eichel, who had two assists. “I didnt think it was our best game overall but sometimes youre not going to play a clean game and youve got to find a way to win, and we did that.”

Linus Ullmark made 27 saves on 32 shots in the first two periods. Carter Hutton made five saves in the third and overtime.

Nic Deslauriers first goal of the year is a shorthanded one, #Habs lead 5-4 pic.twitter.com/YxZ1eYd9O7

“We didnt look clean and our execution wasnt very good,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “But at the same time, you know, were down 5-4 in the third period in somebody elses building, we find a way to tie it up and win it in overtime, so weve got to recognize some things weve got to buckle down, but I give our guys a lot of credit for battling through that and finding a way to win.”

Jonathan Drouin, Matthew Peca and Nicolas Deslauriers each had a goal and an assist, and Max Domi had three assists for Montreal (8-5-3), which lost consecutive games for the first time. Carey Price made 25 saves. 

The Wraparound: Sabres 6, Canadiens 5 (OT)

“Lets just cut to the chase, I just didnt play very good tonight,” said Price, who has allowed at least four goals in his past four starts.

5 Observations: Sabres top Canadiens 6-5 in OT

“Unfortunately, that position is one that you can really pinpoint because weve got players that can play really bad one night, but because theyre surrounded by other players around them it doesnt show as much,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “Thats the sad part of a goaltenders position is that, as you can see, were looking more at him when the rest of our team wasnt any better.”

“They had a lot of Grade A scoring chances and sometimes when youre giving those up you hang your goalie out to dry a little bit,” Peca said.

Rodrigues set up Sobotkas second goal, his third of the season, to make it 2-1 at 14:40. Peca scored 10 seconds later to tie it at 2-2.

Sheary made it 3-2 at 15:52 with his sixth goal in his 200th NHL game. Andrew Shaw tied it at 3-3 at 16:26.

Skinner gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead at 5:34 of the second, but Tomas Tatar scored his third goal in two games at 10:17 to tie it at 4-4.

“That was a pretty bad game, you know, you cant have those games. But I think this games going to make us tighter and were going to grow as a group here. We got a pretty ugly win, grind it out, a big two points, and learn from it.” — Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen

“Its all upstairs. Ive got to figure it out.” — Canadiens goalie Carey Price about his recent struggles

“I think if anything he needs to feel that weve got his back, and we do. We know how good he can be.” — Canadiens coach Claude Julien on Price

Housley and Tyler Myers each scored three overtime goals for the Sabres. … Skinner has 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … Eichel has 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in his past six games. … Buffalo forward Jason Pominville has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past nine games. … Montreal forward Joel Armia did not play. He will miss six to eight weeks because of a knee injury he sustained Tuesday. … Domi has eight points (four goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak.