P.J. Subban injured late, Canadiens beat Sabres 3-2
MONTREAL (AP) Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being hit on the side of the head by a teammate, overshadowing the Canadiens' 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Thursday night.
The Canadiens said Subban was taken to a hospital for further testing of a neck injury. The team said he had normal movement in his extremities.
Subban was injured late in the third period when teammate Alexei Emelin ran into him, knocking him on the side of the head with his back side while retrieving the puck in Montreal's corner. The 2013 Norris Trophy winner was nearly motionless on the ice for about 10 minutes while doctors and trainers tended to him.
''It's scary to see that many trainers and doctors on the ice,'' said captain Max Pacioretty, who added Subban was communicating with him shortly after the accident. ''Nobody knew exactly what happened. That was the scariest part for me. It looked like a nothing play. It was impossible to concentrate after that.''
Before the game, Subban was presented the Jean Beliveau Trophy for his community involvement.
''You're trying to win a hockey game but you almost felt like you don't want to keep playing at that point and time,'' Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. ''The game's an after-thought.''
Subban has played 273 consecutive regular-season games - the team's longest active streak. He last missed a game on Jan. 30, 2013. That streak will likely be broken Saturday when Montreal plays Minnesota.
Alex Galchenyuk scored twice for the Canadiens, Torrey Mitchell added a goal, and Mike Condon made 36 saves for his 17th victory of the season, best among rookie goaltenders.
''When you see a guy go down like that, and the stretcher comes out, it takes the life out of you,'' Mitchell said. ''We're just praying that Subby is OK right now.''
Nicolas Deslauriers and Brian Gionta scored for Buffalo, and Robin Lehner stopped 31 shots.
Mitchell scored the winner at 13:21 of the third period. The winger managed to control a bouncing puck and beat Lehner from a tight angle through traffic.
The Canadiens jumped into 11th in the Eastern Conference with the win. They are 7-0-1 in their last eight home games.
After an uneventful first period, the teams scored 9 seconds apart midway through the second period.
Deslauriers got the first when he deflected Jake McCabe's point shot past Condon at 9:00.
That's when Galchenyuk went to work.
Playing in his third consecutive game as Montreal's first-line center, Galchenyuk beat Lehner from point-blank range after a nifty pass from Pacioretty behind the net at 9:09.
The 22-year-old added his second of the game with 44 seconds left in the second. With Montreal on the power play, Galchenyuk was left all alone in front of goal for the easy one-timer.
Galchenyuk, with his 11th goal in his last eight games, leads the Canadiens with 25 goals this season, leapfrogging Pacioretty, who has 24.
It was also Galchenyuk's third consecutive two-goal game and team-leading seventh of the season.
''We knew he was on fire and unfortunately we were unable to stop him,'' Bylsma said.
Former Habs captain Gionta tied it for the Sabres at 5:10 of the third period, redirecting Evander Kane's shot between Condon's pads.
NOTES: The teams will meet again Wednesday night in Buffalo. ... Kane has five points in his last five games. ... The loss was Buffalo's first against an Atlantic-Division opponent since Oct. 17.