Jeff Skinner torches Habs with OT winner as Sabres win eighth straight

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Sabres' Jeff Skinner is congratulated by Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel after tying the game late in the third period Friday evening in Buffalo.

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner is congratulated by Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel after tying the game late in the third period Friday evening in Buffalo.

Jeffrey T. Barnes / Associated Press

BUFFALO — The Buffalo Sabres extended their win streak to eight games as Jeff Skinner scored a power-play goal at 3:06 of overtime for a 3-2 win over the Canadiens Friday at KeyBank Center. The Sabres earned a 4-on-3 man advantage when Max Domi was called for slashing at 1:32.

Buffalo pulled even when Skinner scored his 16th goal of the season at 17:34 of the third period.

Julien wanted to tighten things up on defence and that’s why the team called up Brett Kulak from Laval and dressed Karl Alzner, while Mike Reilly and Xavier Ouellet were healthy scratches. The defence, which has been porous in recent weeks, tightened things up and the Canadiens hung tight long enough for Andrew Shaw to give Montreal a 2-1 lead on a power play at 8:18 of the third period. Shaw’s seventh goal of the season came five seconds after Repentigny native Jason Pominville went to the box.

Casey Mittelstadt followed the bouncing puck to score the only goal in the first period. Conor Sheary, who was in the high slot, stretched to deflect Jake McCabe’s shot from the point. The puck hit the post and settled in front of Antti Niemi and Mittelstadt pushed it home. Niemi finished with 37 saves, but his record fell to 4-2-1.

Most of the Canadiens’ shots early on were from another area code, but things started to change in the latter stages of the second period.

The Canadiens had their first opportunity when Hutton bobbled Phil Danault’s shot off the rush. The puck popped over the goaltender’s head and was lying in the crease when Brendan Gallagher kicked it in. The decisions surrounding a goal kicked in are sometimes borderline, but Gallagher’s action was the definition of a distinct kicking motion.

Gallagher did draw the Canadiens even at 18:12 of the second period with another shot off the rush, beating Hutton low on the blocker side. It was Gallagher’s 11th goal of the season, tying Max Domi for the team lead.

Tage Thompson probably left the game cursing Montreal defenceman Jeff Petry. Early in the second period, Thompson left the ice limping after he took a Petry slapshot off his foot. Later in the period, Thompson had Niemi out of a position, but as he pulled the puck back from behind the goal line and tried to slip it behind the sprawling goaltender, Petry was there to make the save.

phickey@postmedia.com

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