Lydman, Miller star as Sabres rattle Canadiens in shootout

MONTREAL (AP) — Toni Lydman knew just what to do when his name
was finally called in the shootout.

Lydman scored on Buffalo’s sixth attempt, and Ryan Miller
stopped each of Montreal’s tries to lead the Sabres to a 4-3 win
over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

The Buffalo defenseman put a shot through Carey Price’s legs on
his first career shootout attempt after the goalie turned aside
the first five shooters he faced.

“I knew what I was going to do, try to throw it five-hole,”
Lydman said. “I had to skate around (Price) to see that the puck
actually went in.”

Miller, who never watches the Sabres’ attempts during shootouts,
was perfect in the tiebreaker. Maxim Lapierre fanned on the
Canadiens’ final attempt after Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Saku
Koivu, Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec also failed to score.

“I’ll watch it on video, but Carey had a nice game, he did a
good job,” said Miller, who has stopped 31 of 40 shootout
attempts this season. “Our goals were hard-fought and around the
net. He battled through that shootout. I didn’t see it, but from
the reaction of the crowd and the kind of shooters he had
shooting on him it looked like he made some good plays.”

Miller started for the second time in two nights, after missing
13 games due to a sprained left ankle, and made 32 saves. He had
a sensational lunging stop midway through the first that
prevented Lapierre and the Canadiens from opening the scoring.

“He had to be the difference by the time the end of the night
came around,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “To do what he did
in the shootout, that’s a big point for us.”

Miller stopped 33 shots in the Sabres’ 5-3 win over Toronto on
Friday in his return.

Clarke MacArthur drew Buffalo even at 3 when he scored into an
open right side 3:58 into the third.

The Sabres held a 37-35 edge in shots overall, including a 16-7
advantage in the third.

“I don’t think we responded badly, but I don’t think we made the
plays to alleviate that pressure,” said Montreal left wing Chris
Higgins, who scored the first of his team’s three unanswered
goals in the second.

Adam Mair and Tim Connolly also scored for the Sabres, who are
in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 82 points. The
Canadiens are eighth in the East with 86.

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“We need the points more — we can’t get down,” Miller said. “If
this were the last game of the season that would have been
unfortunate, but there are seven games left.”

Lapierre got a boarding penalty 2:52 in for checking Sabres
forward Patrick Kaleta from behind into the boards. Kaleta
returned for a few more shifts before leaving the game for good.

Ruff said Kaleta was examined by Canadiens medical staff who,
“deemed him to have a concussion.”

“You can tell the impact by the fact his helmet flew off his
head,” Ruff said. “I disagree with the lack of respect that he
showed our player on the play.”

Kovalev scored two goals and Higgins added one as Montreal came
back from a two-goal deficit early in the second to take a 3-2

Mair scored on a deflection late in the first and Connolly gave
the Sabres a 2-0 lead with his career-high 17th goal on a power
play 2:36 into the second.

Higgins scored the first of three straight Montreal goals when
he drove a shot from the left side over Miller’s right shoulder
for his 10th goal at 7:58.

Kovalev got credit for his 21st goal at 12:33 when Koivu came
out from behind the net and put a backhand along the ice that
went in off the Russian right wing.

With Andrej Sekera already in the penalty box, Buffalo’s Jochen
Hecht was sent off for cross-checking Markov at 15:04 after the
Montreal defenseman stopped him on a partial breakaway.

Kovalev got his second goal in 2:41 to put the Canadiens up 3-2,
converting during a 5-on-3 power play at 15:14.

His linemate Tanguay, who had the third five-point game of his
career in Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Atlanta, assisted on the tying
and go-ahead goals. Tanguay has a five-game point streak.

Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder was cut on the forehead at
10:56 when a slap shot by Canadiens defenseman Patrice Brisebois
struck him on the front of his helmet. Tallinder, who wears a
visor, went to the dressing room and returned for the second