Thomas Vanek sparks Sabres in comeback win over Canadiens
|Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj allows the shootout game winner against the Sabres during NHL action in Buffalo on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. (Doug Benz/Reuters)
BUFFALO - Thomas Vanek scored a pair of third-period goals, including one with 1.9 seconds left, and Jason Pominville scored the deciding goal in the shootout to lift the Buffalo Sabres over the Montreal Canadiens, 5-4.
Vanek also scored in the first round of the shootout for the Sabres, who avenged a 6-1 loss to Montreal last Saturday. Tyler Ennis added a goal and two assists, while Steve Ott had a goal and an assist.
Ryan Miller made 28 saves for Buffalo, which snapped a three-game skid.
Tomas Plekanec scored a pair of goals for the Canadiens, who have lost two straight since a two-game win streak. Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban also lit the lamp.
Peter Budaj stopped 36-of-40 shots in defeat.
Trailing by two, 4-2, Vanek put his team on his back with a pair of late strikes. The first came on the power play after Montreal's Ryan White was given a four-minute roughing penalty. Vanek gathered a rebound in front and beat Budaj with a backhander at 7:57.
Vanek's game-tying goal came in the dying seconds of regulation. A mad scramble for the puck took place in front of Budaj, and Vanek managed to poke the disc across the goal line past a mass of bodies. The goal was upheld following a review with 1.9 seconds to go.
Each goaltender made two saves in overtime.
Vanek and Alex Galchenyuk scored in the first round of the shootout. Following a scoreless second round, Pominville beat Budaj with a wrist shot. Miller then stopped Brian Gionta to secure the come-from-behind victory.
Plekanec's shot from the right circle gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at the 4:11 mark of the first period.
Just 15 seconds later, Ott lit the lamp for Buffalo. A nice forecheck by Mikhail Grigorenko led to Jochen Hecht controlling the puck. Hecht slid a pass to Ott, whose shot from the bottom of the right circle beat Budaj.
Gallagher's shot from the high slot put Montreal back in front at the 12:31 mark of the middle stanza.
Once again, the Sabres had a quick answer when Ennis scored on a breakaway to make it 2-2 only 35 seconds later.
Penalties to Cody Hodgson and Ott with less than three minutes left in the period gave the Canadiens a 5-on-3 power play. Just 53 seconds into the two- man advantage, Subban beat Miller with a one-timer from the top of the left circle.
Plekanec scored on a breakaway just 45 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2 for Montreal.
Vanek increased his total to 21 points on the season and has recorded a point in all but one game ... Buffalo defenceman Christian Ehrhoff returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game with an undisclosed injury ... Sabres defenceman Andrej Sekera (foot) missed his third straight contest ... Montreal was without forward Travis Moen due a lower-body injury ... Subban has a point in each game he's played this season.