Terrible second period sinks Canadiens in 4-1 loss to Sabers

Montreal shot 14-2 on the mark and allowed two goals, including a four-minute power play, to fall to 1-9-1 on the road.

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The Canadiens had another case of sadness in the second period when the Buffalo Sabers scored twice in the second period to take control of the game en route to a 4-1 victory Friday night at the KeyBank Center.


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Montreal was outshot 14-2 in the second period and conceded a goal from short during a four-minute power play.

Sam Montembeault stopped Victor Olofsson on a breakaway early in the second, but had no response midway through the period when the Sabers regained the lead at 2-1. Cody Eakin carried the puck into the Canadiens’ zone and then made a trade with Vinnie Hinostroza, who moved from the left side and used a backhand pass to find Eakin on the opposite side. Montembeault couldn’t slide in time to stop the shot.

The Canadiens had a chance to tie the game when Brett Murray was sent off for four minutes by Jake Evans. But the Canadiens only had one shot during the extended lead, while Buffalo had three and all had scoring opportunities. Montembeault stopped Olofsson on another breakaway and then stopped a Kyle Okposo backhand, but used his own rebound to make it 3-1. Montreal has been outscored 27-16 in second periods this season.


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The Canadiens flew out in the third period and tested Dustin Tokarski on a couple of shots, but the Sabers regained momentum when Tage Thompson scored his second goal of the game, and his 10th of the season, at 3:29.

The Canadiens conceded the first goal for the thirteenth time in 22 games when Thompson scored from the slot at 4:08 in the first period. Artturi Lehkonen and Evans couldn’t put their clubs on the puck when Olofsson set up Thompson. The Canadiens are 2-11 when they give up the first goal.

The Sabers missed a chance to lead 2-0 when Zemgus Girgensons hit a post and, less than a minute later, the Canadiens tied when Josh Anderson scored his fifth goal of the season at 12:44. Anderson intercepted a weak pass from Jeff Skinner in the Buffalo zone and Tokarski was unprepared for Anderson’s quick shot.


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The 32-year-old Tokarski made 25 saves in his first appearance against his former team. Montembeault made 35 stops.

With the loss, the Canadiens fell to 5-15-2 on the season and are 1-9-1 on the road.

Dominique Ducharme returned to the lineup of 11 forwards and seven defenders that proved successful last Saturday against Nashville. Joel Edmundson, who has been practicing with the team, was not among the seven defenders. He has not yet been cleared for contact and probably won’t make his season debut until next week.

Mattias Norlinder dressed as extra defense and Cédric Paquette was a healthy scratch.

The Canadiens conclude their three-game road trip on Saturday when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins. (7 pm, CBC, SNE, TVA Sports, TSN-690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

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