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Sabres opening night: Stats and storylines vs. Montreal Canadiens

The Sabres open up the season at home hosting the Montreal Canadiens.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Coming off of a difficult season, including finishing last in the National Hockey League, a head coaching change, multiple trades, a COVID-19 breakout and Jack Eichel trade rumors, the Sabres kicked off the new regular season Thursday hosting Montreal at KeyBank Center.

FIRST PERIOD:

  •  Sabres score their first goal of the season on the power play, 6:40 into the first period with a goal from Kyle Okposo, assisted by Jacob Bryson and Colin Miller.
  • Buffalo takes a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, after the Sabres other alternate captain, Zemgus Girgensons scores 17:35 into the period with Miller tallying his second assist on the season and Cody Eakin picking up his first.
  • Shots after one period: Tied 10-10
  • Sabres lead, 2-0.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • The Sabres survived a 26 second 5-on-3 penalty kill early in the period after Henri Jokiharju was sent to the box for holding and Cody Eakin joined him for tripping.
  • The Canadiens cut the Sabres lead to one midway through the second period on a goal from Chris Wideman.
  • The Sabres answered with two goals late in the period, the first from Victor Olofsson on the power play (assisted by Jeff Skinner and Jacob Bryson's second assist on the night).
  • Anders Bjork tallied another goal with less than a minute remaining in the second period (assisted by Vinnie Hinostroza and Zemgus Girgensons), and the Sabres take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
  • Shots after two periods: 25-21 Sabres.
  • Sabres lead, 4-1.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • The Sabres announced forward Casey Mittelstadt would not return to the game with an upper-body injury.
  • Buffalo adds onto its lead with its third power play goal of the game. Victor Olofsson missed on the one timer and Tage Thompson put the rebound in the net. Sabres take a 5-1 lead.
  • Craig Anderson makes 30 saves.
  • Final shots: 36-31
  • Sabres win 5-1