Lydman, Miller star as Sabres rattle Canadiens in shootout

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MONTREAL (AP) -- Toni Lydman knew just what to do when his name

was finally called in the shootout.

Lydman scored on Buffalo's sixth attempt, and Ryan Miller

stopped each of Montreal's tries to lead the Sabres to a 4-3 win

over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

The Buffalo defenseman put a shot through Carey Price's legs on

his first career shootout attempt after the goalie turned aside

the first five shooters he faced.

"I knew what I was going to do, try to throw it five-hole,"

Lydman said. "I had to skate around (Price) to see that the puck

actually went in."

Miller, who never watches the Sabres' attempts during shootouts,

was perfect in the tiebreaker. Maxim Lapierre fanned on the

Canadiens' final attempt after Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Saku

Koivu, Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec also failed to score.

"I'll watch it on video, but Carey had a nice game, he did a

good job," said Miller, who has stopped 31 of 40 shootout

attempts this season. "Our goals were hard-fought and around the

net. He battled through that shootout. I didn't see it, but from

the reaction of the crowd and the kind of shooters he had

shooting on him it looked like he made some good plays."

Miller started for the second time in two nights, after missing

13 games due to a sprained left ankle, and made 32 saves. He had

a sensational lunging stop midway through the first that

prevented Lapierre and the Canadiens from opening the scoring.

"He had to be the difference by the time the end of the night

came around," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "To do what he did

in the shootout, that's a big point for us."

Miller stopped 33 shots in the Sabres' 5-3 win over Toronto on

Friday in his return.

Clarke MacArthur drew Buffalo even at 3 when he scored into an

open right side 3:58 into the third.

The Sabres held a 37-35 edge in shots overall, including a 16-7

advantage in the third.

"I don't think we responded badly, but I don't think we made the

plays to alleviate that pressure," said Montreal left wing Chris

Higgins, who scored the first of his team's three unanswered

goals in the second.

Adam Mair and Tim Connolly also scored for the Sabres, who are

in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 82 points. The

Canadiens are eighth in the East with 86.

"We need the points more -- we can't get down," Miller said. "If

this were the last game of the season that would have been

unfortunate, but there are seven games left."

Lapierre got a boarding penalty 2:52 in for checking Sabres

forward Patrick Kaleta from behind into the boards. Kaleta

returned for a few more shifts before leaving the game for good.

Ruff said Kaleta was examined by Canadiens medical staff who,

"deemed him to have a concussion."

"You can tell the impact by the fact his helmet flew off his

head," Ruff said. "I disagree with the lack of respect that he

showed our player on the play."

Kovalev scored two goals and Higgins added one as Montreal came

back from a two-goal deficit early in the second to take a 3-2

lead.

Mair scored on a deflection late in the first and Connolly gave

the Sabres a 2-0 lead with his career-high 17th goal on a power

play 2:36 into the second.

Higgins scored the first of three straight Montreal goals when

he drove a shot from the left side over Miller's right shoulder

for his 10th goal at 7:58.

Kovalev got credit for his 21st goal at 12:33 when Koivu came

out from behind the net and put a backhand along the ice that

went in off the Russian right wing.

With Andrej Sekera already in the penalty box, Buffalo's Jochen

Hecht was sent off for cross-checking Markov at 15:04 after the

Montreal defenseman stopped him on a partial breakaway.

Kovalev got his second goal in 2:41 to put the Canadiens up 3-2,

converting during a 5-on-3 power play at 15:14.

His linemate Tanguay, who had the third five-point game of his

career in Tuesday's 6-3 win over Atlanta, assisted on the tying

and go-ahead goals. Tanguay has a five-game point streak.

Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder was cut on the forehead at

10:56 when a slap shot by Canadiens defenseman Patrice Brisebois

struck him on the front of his helmet. Tallinder, who wears a

visor, went to the dressing room and returned for the second

period.

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