Ristolainen scores at 1:38, Sabres defeat Canadiens in overtime

MONTREAL — Rasmus Ristolainen scored at 1:38 of overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 6-5 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.

Ristolainen drove the right side and scored on a slapshot. It was his fourth regular-season overtime goal, a record for Buffalo defensemen.

Jeff Skinner and Vladimir Sobotka each had two goals, and Conor Sheary scored for the Sabres (8-6-2), who blew four one-goal leads.

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Canadiens highlights]

 

“I thought that through the lineup it was good that we stuck with it,” said Buffalo forward Jack Eichel, who had two assists. “I didn’t think it was our best game overall but sometimes you’re not going to play a clean game and you’ve got to find a way to win, and we did that.”

Linus Ullmark made 27 saves on 32 shots in the first two periods. Carter Hutton made five saves in the third and overtime.

“We didn’t look clean and our execution wasn’t very good,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “But at the same time, you know, we’re down 5-4 in the third period in somebody else’s building, we find a way to tie it up and win it in overtime, so we’ve got to recognize some things we’ve got to buckle down, but I give our guys a lot of credit for battling through that and finding a way to win.”

Video: EA Sports Overtime Winner: Ristolainen downs Habs

Jonathan Drouin, Matthew Peca and Nicolas Deslauriers each had a goal and an assist, and Max Domi had three assists for Montreal (8-5-3), which lost consecutive games for the first time. Carey Price made 25 saves. 

“Let’s just cut to the chase, I just didn’t play very good tonight,” said Price, who has allowed at least four goals in his past four starts.

“Unfortunately, that position is one that you can really pinpoint because we’ve got players that can play really bad one night, but because they’re surrounded by other players around them it doesn’t show as much,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “That’s the sad part of a goaltender’s position is that, as you can see, we’re looking more at him when the rest of our team wasn’t any better.”

Skinner scored his second goal of the game, his 11th, at 2:20 of the third to tie it at 5-5.

“They had a lot of Grade A scoring chances and sometimes when you’re giving those up you hang your goalie out to dry a little bit,” Peca said.

The teams combined for six goals in the first period, including four in a span of 1:46.

Sobotka made it 1-0 at 6:08 when he scored on a pass from Evan Rodrigues on a 2-on-1.

Drouin tied it at 1-1 at 9:14 when he redirected Domi’s centering pass for his fifth goal.

Rodrigues set up Sobotka’s second goal, his third of the season, to make it 2-1 at 14:40. Peca scored 10 seconds later to tie it at 2-2.

Sheary made it 3-2 at 15:52 with his sixth goal in his 200th NHL game. Andrew Shaw tied it at 3-3 at 16:26.

Skinner gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead at 5:34 of the second, but Tomas Tatar scored his third goal in two games at 10:17 to tie it at 4-4.

Deslauriers gave the Canadiens their first lead at 5-4 with a shorthanded goal at 18:03.

Video: Clutch Performance: Skinner buries two vs. Canadiens

 

They said it

“That was a pretty bad game, you know, you can’t have those games. But I think this game’s going to make us tighter and we’re going to grow as a group here. We got a pretty ugly win, grind it out, a big two points, and learn from it.” — Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen

 

“It’s all upstairs. I’ve got to figure it out.” — Canadiens goalie Carey Price about his recent struggles

 

“I think if anything he needs to feel that we’ve got his back, and we do. We know how good he can be.” — Canadiens coach Claude Julien on Price

 

Need to know

Housley and Tyler Myers each scored three overtime goals for the Sabres. … Skinner has 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … Eichel has 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in his past six games. … Buffalo forward Jason Pominville has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past nine games. … Montreal forward Joel Armia did not play. He will miss six to eight weeks because of a knee injury he sustained Tuesday. … Domi has eight points (four goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak. 

 

What’s next

Sabres: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, SNW, SNP, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Video: Ristolainen scores in OT for 6-5 Sabres’ win

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