BUFFALO — Jack Eichel had two goals and two assists for the Buffalo Sabres in a 5-4 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center on Wednesday.
Marcus Johansson won it at 1:30 of overtime on a one-timer from the right circle five seconds after a power play had expired.
“The more we put pucks behind them, I think it feeds our game and that’s when we start getting going,” Eichel said. “We were able to find a way to get two points. That’s what’s important in this League, so it’s a good win. They’re a really good hockey team. You can tell by the way they play. They’re fast, they move the puck well, they forecheck hard, and they’re tough to play against.”
[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Sabres highlights]
Rasmus Dahlin had two assists, and Carter Hutton made 23 saves for Buffalo (3-0-1), which has earned a point in four straight to begin the season for the first time since starting 4-0-1 in 2009-10.
Joel Armia had two goals and an assist, and Keith Kinkaid made 34 saves in his first start for Montreal (1-0-2), which has trailed by at least two goals in each of its first three games.
“We have to be better on the penalty kill and we have to stop playing catch-up hockey,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “Eventually, it’s going to cost us. We’re showing a lot of character, but at the same time, if we fall asleep in the games, it costs us and we have to rally.”
After Jeff Skinner scored 47 seconds into the third period to give the Sabres a 4-2 lead, Jesperi Kotkaniemi cut it to 4-3 at 1:44 and Ben Chiarot tied it 4-4 at 12:54 from the top of the left circle.
“This time of year, I think you always want to pick up points when you can and at the same time realize there’s things that are going to happen, breakdowns are going to happen, and you’re going to have to work through those things,” Skinner said. “Just keep communicating through them and make sure you’re working hard and competing and sort of trying to make up for those.”
Victor Olofsson scored on the power play at 5:04 of the first period, receiving a cross-ice pass from Eichel to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead. Olofsson is the fourth player in NHL history to score each of his first six goals on the power play, joining Jeff Norton, Sylvain Turgeon and Craig Norwich.
Armia tied it 1-1 at 14:06 of the first with a shorthanded goal, scoring alone in front after Nate Thompson collected a loose puck following a turnover by Dahlin in the neutral zone.
Armia scored his second on the power play with 21 seconds left in the first, beating Hutton glove side to make it 2-1.
Eichel tied it 2-2 at 4:46 of the second period with a power-play goal from the left circle, and he gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead at 14:13 when he skated coast to coast before scoring on a shot that went through Chiarot and Jeff Petry.
“We obviously want to have the two points. I think we could have gotten that tonight,” Thompson said. “We put ourselves behind the eight ball a little bit. It was a good effort in the third but just managed to come up a little bit short.”
They said it
“We didn’t do a good job on the penalty kill, we couldn’t send the puck down the other end when we had the chance, and eventually those things catch up to you. We fell asleep in the second period. They were harder on the puck than we were, and we were a bit soft. If you want to be a good team, those things can’t be a part of your game.” — Canadiens coach Claude Julien
“We’re happy to come out of a game with a win where we definitely didn’t have the structure defensively we want to have, but we all know we’re in the beginning of a hard, long season of growth and learning. The language is right on the bench and in the room. You have to give a compliment to the way Montreal plays. … It was a high level of offense coming at us all night, and we have to learn to play against that. Again, if we can learn off a win, we’ll take that anytime.” — Sabres captain Jack Eichel
Need to know
The Sabres have won their first two home games for the first time since 2008-09. … Canadiens forward Max Domi played in his 200th consecutive game. … Dahlin has seven points (one goal, six assists) in a four-game point streak, the third longest by a teenage defenseman to open a season in NHL history behind Drew Doughty (5 games, 2009-10) and Larry Murphy (5 games, 1980-81). … Montreal has gone to overtime in its first three games of the season for the first time in its history.
Canadiens: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, FS-D, NHL.TV)
Sabres: Host the Florida Panthers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN1, MSG-B, FS-F, NHL.TV)