BUFFALO, N.Y. — Marcus Johansson scored 1:30 into overtime, leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Jack Eichel scored twice and added two assists, and the Sabres improved to 3-0-1, the team’s best start since opening the 2009-10 season 4-0-1. Rookie Victor Olofsson matched an NHL record in becoming the fourth NHL player to score first six career goals on the power play in a game Buffalo converted two of five opportunities.
Jeff Skinner also scored and defenceman Rasmus Dahlin had two assists, while Carter Hutton stopped 23 shots and improved to 3-0.
Joel Armia scored twice and added an assist in a game the Canadiens rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ben Chiarot, with the tying goal with 7:06 remaining, also scored for the Canadiens (1-0-2)
Keith Kinkaid stopped 34 shots, including getting his right pad out to stop Skinner redirecting Johansson’s pass into the crease with 2:51 remaining.
The game was decided just as Montreal’s Paul Byron exited the penalty box while serving a slashing penalty.
Eichel’s shot from the slot was blocked by Chiarot and the puck dribbled to Sabres defenceman Colin Miller in the left circle. Miller immediately slid a pass to Johansson, who swept it into the open side from the right circle.
Eichel scored the most impressive goal of the game in putting Buffalo ahead 3-2 late in the second period.
Circling with the puck inside his zone, Eichel eluded Tomas Tatar’s check at his own blue line and then built up a head of steam driving through the neutral zone. With Chiarot and Jeff Petry backing up, Eichel fired a low hard shot that sneaked in under Kincaid.
Montreal was coming off a 6-5 shootout win at Toronto on Saturday in which the Canadiens rallied from a 4-1 deficit. The Habs also overcame a 2-0 deficit in a season-opening 4-3 shootout loss at Carolina last week.
The Sabres entered the game tied for league lead in converting 60% of their power-play chances (6 of 10), before Olofsson capitalized on Buffalo’s first opportunity with a one-timer off Eichel’s pass into the right circle to open the scoring 5:04 into the first period.
The 24-year-old Swede’s power-play goal streak dates to the two he scored in two games last season.
Winnipeg’s Craig Norwich in 1979-80, Hartford’s Sylvain Turgeon in 1983-84 and Islanders’ Jeff Norton, from 1987-88 to 1989-90, also scored their first six career on the power play.
Sabres LW Conor Sheary’s timetable for recovering from an upper body injury has increased to week to week from day to day after he was hurt in a 4-3 overtime loss at Columbus on Monday. … Evan Rodrigues made his season debut in place of Sheary. … Canadiens placed F Michael McCarron on waivers after sitting out each of Montreal’s first two games.
Canadiens: Play Detroit Red Wings in home opener on Thursday night.
Sabres: Continue three-game homestand hosting Florida Panthers on Friday night.
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John Wawrow, The Associated Press