About Last Night: Allen, Gallagher show Sabres kids how it's done

Jake Allen and Brendan Gallagher who were the difference-makers in a 3-1 Montreal Canadiens win over the Buffalo Sabres Monday night at KeyBank Center.

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It was billed as a battle between the two youngest teams in the NHL, but it was tricenarians Jake Allen and Brendan Gallagher who were the difference-makers in a 3-1 Montreal Canadiens win over the Buffalo Sabres Monday night at KeyBank Center.

Allen made 36 saves for his second consecutive win. Gallagher had a goal and an assist, and was on the ice for all three Montreal goals.

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They weren’t the only veterans to have an impact. Tanner Pearson scored his third goal in five games for the Habs, while David Savard still managed to block two shots on a pivotal third-period penalty kill where he lost his skate blade.

Kaiden Guhle is day-to-day with an upper body injury, so Justin Barron got in the lineup for a second straight game. He opened scoring in the first, pouncing on a rebound that jumped into open ice.

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The Habs lead the league in penalty minutes and lack of discipline remained a problem on the night. With Gallagher in the box, Jeff Skinner tied it up from a sharp angle. Both teams were tied 1-1 after one.

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The game got physical from the second period onwards, including Johnathan Kovacevic taking out two Sabres at once.

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The game remained tied 1-1 after two periods. Allen kept his team in it as the shot counter continued to shift in Buffalo’s favour.

In the third, the puck seemed to be in goalie Eric Comrie’s pads, but Gallagher knew better. He jammed the puck home from in tight as he’s done countless times to give Montreal a 2-1 advantage.

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With Sean Monahan in the box after yet another offensive zone penalty for the club, Savard took one for the team with his heroic penalty killing performance sans skate blade.

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The struggling Habs power play got one chance in the third, and they succeeded in putting the game away. It was a group effort for the second unit: Arber Xhekaj and Juraj Slafkovsky kept the puck alive at the point, then Alex Newhook took the puck down the wall and fed Gallagher below the goal line. Gallagher set up Pearson in front and the new Canadien once again showed off his solid shooting skills to give Montreal a 3-1 lead.

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This is why preseason is preseason: Allen and Gallagher struggled in camp, but it’s so far so good in October. Allen has 67 saves in his last two games, and Gallagher has scored two goals in classic Gallagher style. Much has been made of Gallagher’s reduced ice-time, but perhaps he’s more effective giving his all 11-12 minutes a night. Hockey Stat Cards has four vets at the top of Montreal’s impact card last night.

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It hardly felt like a Monday night in the Liveblog comments. These Canadiens certainly aren’t boring at this early juncture, although I don’t think the commenters will tolerate too many more offensive-zone penalties.

3. “Great team win! Heart, character & desire did the job! We may not have the most talented team but we got a lion’s heart! GHG!” — Alex Polidoro

2. “And to think the Hockey Inside/Out crew were debating today if Marty was making the right decision to put our three vets together on the same line. … Uhhhh. Yah!” — Carin Latzel

1. “If I watched all of Gally’s NHL goals, I am sure that less than half end with him still upright on his skates. The man takes a beating.” — Michael Way

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