MONTREAL – The Buffalo Sabres found a way to erase four deficits and win without ever holding a lead.
Mikhail Grigorenko scored in the shootout to give Buffalo a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night in the first pre-season game for both teams.
Grigorenko beat Zachary Fucale with a backhand on the Sabres’ second attempt in the tiebreaker.
Buffalo, which never led in the game or overtime, erased four one-goal deficits in regulation. Colton Gillies drew the Sabres even at four when he backhanded his rebound past Fucale 15:36 into the third.
Zemgus Girgensons had a pair in the second for Buffalo, including his second goal of the period to tie it at three at 11:51 on the first shot faced by Fucale.
“I thought he was one of our best players tonight,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. “He changed the momentum of the game with the short-handed goal and then getting the second goal that he had on the short side.”
Jamie McBain also scored for the Sabres, who killed five of Montreal’s six power-play opportunities.
“I think we played really well as a team,” Grigorenko said. “Our penalty killing was amazing and our goalies played really well.”
Matt Hackett denied Alex Galchenyuk, Martin Reway and Brendan Gallagher in the shootout. He stopped 7-of-8 shots in the game after replacing Enroth, who stopped 10 shots.
Michael Bournival scored twice for Montreal. Linemate Michael McCarron got his second assist of the game when Martin St-Pierre scored 12:59 into the third to give the Canadiens their fourth one-goal lead.
“St-Pierre is a player who has a good vision of the play,” Bournival said. “It’s fun to play with him and McCarron is a big guy who uses his size to create space on the ice.”
Erik Nystrom scored a power-play goal for Montreal, an unassisted effort 9:37 into the second on the last shot Enroth faced.
Fucale, who stopped 11-of-13 shots, was drafted 36th overall in the second round by the Canadiens in June after winning the Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads.
“No matter what happens in the first few minutes it’s important to keep working at it and give the team a chance,” Fucale said.
Montreal starter Peter Budaj made 10 saves.
Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta was given a double minor for roughing 10:41 into the third when he tried to pick a fight with Galchenyuk after the Montreal left wing flattened McBain with an open-ice hit.
“I guess it was a pretty big hit and if our team was in that position I think someone would be coming over to protect the guy also,” Galchenyuk said.
Bournival put the Canadiens up 1-0 with his first goal of the game 15:18 in on a pass from McCarron, who was chosen 25th overall with Montreal’s first-round pick in the June draft.
“It was tons of fun,” McCarron said. “Each day I’ve been here the play has gotten faster and faster and I had to adjust again today, and I adjusted pretty quickly. Our line is talking out there a lot and it made everything a lot easier on us.”
The Sabres erased deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 early in the second as the two teams combined for three goals in under three minutes.
Girgensons scored a short-handed goal 58 seconds into the second to tie it at one before Bournival gave Montreal another one-goal lead with his second goal at the two-minute mark.
McBain tied it at two at 3:52 with a shot from the slot into the top right corner after taking a centring pass from Steve Ott.
Buffalo’s Cody McCormick had his second fighting major of the game 5:13 into the third, when he also drew a roughing minor for his bout with Canadiens defenceman Davis Drewiske. McCormick was given an instigating minor and a misconduct for his fight with Jarred Tinordi with 22 seconds left in the first.
Montreal’s Lars Eller centred a line with sophomores Galchenyuk and Gallagher, the latter a finalist for the Calder Trophy last season.
Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban and newcomer Daniel Briere were among the Canadiens who did not dress.
Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson were among the Sabres who did not make the trip.