The Sabres have started the season 9-0, which is technically a team record even though three wins came via shootout and would have counted as ties prior to last season. The 1975-76 Sabres started 8-0. Buffalo needs one more win to tie the NHL-record 10-0 start by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jiri Novotny scored in the first period and Thomas Vanek got an empty-net goal in the third for Buffalo, which was outshot by the Canadiens 27-26. Ryan Miller improved to 5-0-1 in his career against Montreal.
Mike Johnson scored for the Canadiens, who fell to 4-2-2 with their first home regulation loss.
The Sabres picked up a gift goal on only their second shot of the game at 9:42 when Novotny’s wrist shot from just inside the blue-line went off Cristobal Huet’s glove and fell behind him into the net.
Andrei Markov lost the puck at the Buffalo blue-line on a power play and Drury went in alone down the left side to beat Huet for his 10th goal of the season 9:10 into the second period. Drury has seven goals in his last five games.
Hard work behind the Montreal net allowed Daniel Briere to feed Pominville for a tip-in at 11:12.
Radek Bonk stripped the puck from Henrik Talinder and his shot was tipped in by Johnson 9:06 into the third period to bring the sellout crowd of 21,273 to life.
Vanek scored into an empty net with 19 seconds left.
Notes – Montreal recalled centre Maxim Lapierre from Hamilton of the American Hockey League when Bonk suffered back spasms, but Bonk ended up playing. Mathieu Dandenault (leg) and Aaron Downey (concussion) remain sidelined. . . Nathan Paetsch sat out for Buffalo, which has used the same 20-man lineup for each of its first nine games.