Johansson plays hero in Sabres' 5-4 OT win over Canadiens

October 9, 2019

A couple of Atlantic Division foes took things down to the wire in KeyBank Center, and it was the Buffalo Sabres taking down the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday night.  Newcomer Marcus Johansson scored the game-winning goal in the extra frame, off a pass from fellow first-year Sabre Colin Miller.

The name of the opening period in downtown Buffalo was special teams play.  Three goals were scored in the first 20 minutes of action; two were of the powerplay variety, the third came short-handed.

Victor Olofsson got the party started for the Sabres.  Seconds after ringing the goal post on Buffalo's first powerplay opportunity, Olofsson got the puck back off a cross-ice feed from Jack Eichel and ripped it past Canadiens' netminder Keith Kinkaid for a 1-0 lead.

Olofsson also joined some incredible company, as his sixth career goal also marked his sixth-ever NHL tally on the man advantage.

6⃣career goals for @vickeo. 6⃣ power-play goals. #NHLStats

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 9, 2019

Unfortunately for Buffalo, Montreal battled back with two goals before period's end.  Former Sabre Joel Armia potted both goals for the Canadiens ahead of the first intermission, the first of which came short-handed as he beat Carter Hutton shortly after a Buffalo turnover.

Then, with just 20-seconds left on a Montreal powerplay, Armia struck again.  A puck that was destined to be ripped around the boards behind Hutton was knocked down and tossed towards the slot, where Armia did the rest and gave the Canadiens their first lead of the night, at 2-1, right before the period came to a close.

The second period started off like a carbon copy of the first for Buffalo, as the blue and gold found themselves on a powerplay within the first four minutes of the frame.  Both times, it was Montreal's Tomas Tatar guilty of the minor.  Similarly to the first period the Sabres found the back of the net on that first man advantage, only this time it was captain Jack Eichel doing the damage.  His second goal of the season beat Kinkaid high, glove-side as Eichel found twine from the left circle to tie the game at two goals apiece.

The powerplay goal was Buffalo's eighth already on the young season in just 13 opportunities.

Oh, but Eichel was far from done in the middle stanza.  With just over six minutes left in the second period, the captain went beast mode and skated coast to coast towards the Canadiens' defensive zone.  Eichel capped off the solo rush with a nasty toe-drag move in front of the two Montreal defenders, and ripped his second goal of the night past Kinkaid to help Buffalo re-claim their lead at 3-2.  That goal was his third of the year, and helped the Sabres head to intermission number-two with a one-goal advantage.

The teams traded goals in a wild start to the final period of regulation.  With just 47-seconds gone in the third, Jeff Skinner potted his third goal of the campaign off a feed from Marcus Johansson to give Buffalo their first multi-goal lead at 4-2.  The two-goal advantage would last all of 57-seconds, though, as Montreal's Jesperi Kotkaniemi beat Hutton for a goal of his own to trim the lead back down to one at 4-3; all within the first two minutes of the period.

Later, with just over seven minutes left in regulation, Ben Chiarot sent the game back to square one as he tied the game at four by scoring his first goal as a Montreal Canadien.  Chiarot was able to capitalize when his teammates kept the puck in the Sabres' defensive end and his wrister, through traffic, beat Hutton up over his left shoulder.

The night suddenly became a six-minute sprint to the finish line as these Atlantic Division foes battled hard in the waning moments of the Buffalo evening, and nothing ended up being settled in those final minutes of the third period.  The Sabres and Canadiens prepped for overtime with the score tied at four, though Buffalo did have an edge.  They brought with them some rollover powerplay time from a Philip Danault slashing minor, so the Sabres kicked off the extra five-minute frame with a 4-on-3 man advantage for 1:26 of time.

Four seconds after Buffalo's powerplay expired, Marcus Johansson dropped the curtain on Montreal as he desposited the game-winning goal past Kinkaid off a cross-ice pass from defenseman Colin Miller.  Johansson's clutch goal pushed the Sabres' record to 3-0-1 through four games in 2019-20, meaning they've attained seven out of a possible eight points on the young season.

Eichel posted a strong four-point effort to lead the Buffalo offense in the victory, along with Johansson's multi-point effort, Olofsson's sixth-career powerplay goal, and Skinner's early third period tally.  Hutton made 23 saves on 27 shots in the win as well.



Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 5:04 - Victor Olofsson (4) PPG (Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin)
MTL: 14:06 - Joel Armia (1) SHG (Nate Thompson); 19:39 - Joel Armia (2) PPG (Nick Suzuki)

Second Period:

BUF: 4:46 - Jack Eichel (2) PPG (Rasmus Dahlin, Sam Reinhart); 14:13 - Jack Eichel (3) (Unassisted)

Third Period:

BUF: 0:47 - Jeff Skinner (3) (Marcus Johansson)
MTL: 1:44 - Jesperi Kotkaniemi (2) (Joel Armia, Jonathan Drouin); 12:54 - Ben Chiarot (1) (Artturi Lehkonen, Mike Reilly)


BUF: 1:30 - Marcus Johansson (2) (Colin Miller, Jack Eichel)


Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 18:21 - Rasmus Dahlin (Interference - 2 min.)
MTL: 3:59 - Tomas Tatar (Interference - 2 min.); 13:26 - Jesperi Kotkaniemi (Tripping - 2 min.)

Second Period:

BUF: 7:52 - Vladimir Sobotka (High-sticking - 2 min.)
MTL: 3:58 - Tomas Tatar (Slashing - 2 min.); 16:49 - Jordan Weal (Holding the stick - 2 min.)

Third Period:

BUF: 4:20 - Marcus Johansson (Holding - 2 min.)
MTL: 19:25 - Philip Danault (Slashing - 2 min.)




Shots on Goal:

BUF: 39 (12, 15, 11, 1)
MTL: 27 (10, 9, 8, 0)


BUF: Carter Hutton - 23 saves
MTL: Keith Kinkaid - 34 saves

Power Plays:

BUF: 2 for 5 (40%)
MTL: 1 for 3 (33%)

Three Stars:

1.) Jack Eichel - BUF (2 goals, 2 assists)

2.) Joel Armia - MTL (2 goals, assist)

3.) Marcus Johansson - BUF (game-winning goal, assist)


What's Next:

Another home tilt is inbound for the blue and gold, as they will now prepare to host the Florida Panthers on Friday night, October 11th.  Face-off inside KeyBank Center is set for just after 7 p.m.  If you can't make it to the arena, be sure to join Mike Schopp and the Bulldog for the Paul William Beltz Pre-Game Show from (716) Food and Sport starting at 6 p.m. on the flagship of the Buffalo Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.