MONTREAL – Tomas Vanek drove a slap shot past goalie Cristobal Huet on Buffalo’s second shot in the shootout to lead the Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Alex Kovalev beat Ryan Miller with a backhand on Montreal’s first shot and Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere put a shot through Huet’s pads to even it.

Miller made a pad save to deny Canadiens captain Saku Koivu’s backhand attempt, and Vanek stunned the sellout crowd when he wound up and fired a slap shot over Huet’s right arm into the top left corner.

Miller, who made 31 saves in regulation and overtime, stopped Sergei Samsonov to give Buffalo its fourth win in six games.

Jiri Novotny and Derek Roy scored in regulation for the Sabres, who have won six of nine.

Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray scored his team-leading 11th goal 2:52 into the third to tie it at 2. Souray, who assisted on Montreal’s other goal, left the game with an apparent arm injury before the midway mark of the period and didn’t return.

Huet, who also turned aside 31 shots, helped send the game to overtime when he came out to challenge and stop Jaroslav Spacek’s shot with 2:37 remaining in the third.

Michael Ryder scored his eighth goal on a power-play midway through the second for the Canadiens, who got both goals in regulation with the man advantage, tying the game each time.

Montreal went 2-for-4 with the man advantage and successfully killed each of Buffalo’s five power plays. The Sabres have scored just three times in 41 chances.

Miller denied a Canadiens’ short-handed chance early in the second when he stopped Koivu, who chose to shoot on a 2-on-1 with Steve Begin.

Novotny opened the scoring with his sixth goal 6:12 into the second.

Ryder tied it at 9:11 when he jumped on a loose puck and beat Miller from after Souray’s slap shot from the point struck Koivu in front of the net.

Roy restored the Sabres’ one-goal lead with his fifth of the season at 17:45.

Notes: The Sabres announced that D Teppo Numminen has a broken right toe. The 18-year veteran was injured Thursday during a loss in Florida. D Andrej Sekera was called up from Rochester of the AHL to replace Numminen in the lineup. He made his NHL debut. … The Canadiens have sold out 74 consecutive regular-season games. … D Janne Niinimaa and LW Garth Murray didn’t dress for Montreal.

AP-ES-12-09-06 2212EST


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