BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Cayden Primeau made a career-high 46 saves and Juraj Slafkovsky scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Primeau stopped two out of four Sabres shooters in the shootout. Jayden Struble and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens.
“It’s a big game for him,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “I know he wasn’t happy with his last game. It’s not a bounceback, it’s a bounce forward. I think he went farther than where he was before his bad game. These opportunities it’s a bounce forward, not a bounceback. You’ll go farther.”
Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo each had a goal and Devon Levi made 29 saves for the Sabres, who are winless in six of eight games.
“It hurts not to get the win, but I think that we can agree that the last two games have looked a little bit different than the previous 25 or whatever we played,” Okposo said. “It’s more how we want to play, and I think if we keep doing that on a nightly basis, we’re going to put ourselves in a pretty good spot.”
The Canadiens got out to a 2-0 lead in the second period when Struble and Suzuki scored 14 seconds apart.
Buffalo’s Eric Robinson received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct and Montreal’s Kaiden Guhle went off on a roughing minor 11 minutes into the second period. Struble deflected a shot from Johnathan Kovacevic past Levi at 12:59 during the 4-on-4 for his first NHL goal. Struble and Levi were teammates at Northeastern University last season.
“I’m definitely going to send him a text and just say, ‘Good game and thanks, bro,’” Struble said. “I was talking to him before the game and was like, ‘Hey, let me get my first,’ and he’s like, ‘No chance.’ It feels good, yeah, for sure.”
Suzuki’s goal came at 13:13 during the power play when he wired a shot past Levi.
Skinner made it 2-1 at 1:06 of the third period when Tage Thompson set him up in the slot and snapped it past Primeau for his 12th of the season.
Okposo made it 2-2 at 6:36 when he buried a rebound of a Connor Clifton shot. The goal was Okposo’s 600th NHL point.
“I liked our fight after we gave up those two goals and just stuck with it,” Suzuki said. “I felt like we knew we were going to win that game, just a matter of when and went all the way to the shootout. So, it’s a big win for us.”
Canadiens forward Tanner Pearson left the game with an upper-body injury after the first period and did not return. St. Louis did not have an update on him following the game.
Sabres star defenceman Rasmus Dahlin returned to the lineup after a one-game absence. Dahlin did not play Thursday night in the Sabres 3-1 win against Boston due to a nagging lower-body injury.
Canadiens: Host Nashville on Sunday night.
Sabres: Host Arizona on Monday night.