Zemgus Girgensons and Victor Olofsson both collected one goal and one assist to lead the host Buffalo Sabres to a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in their season opener on Thursday.
Kyle Okposo, Anders Bjork and Tage Thompson also tallied for the Sabres, and veteran goaltender Craig Anderson made 30 saves in his debut with the team. Colin Miller, Jeff Skinner and Jacob Bryson all netted a pair of assists in the victory.
Chris Wideman replied for the Canadiens, who reached the Stanley Cup Final last season but have dropped their first two games to start the campaign.
Sam Montembeault, who was claimed via waivers from the Florida Panthers prior to the season and earned a roster spot because star netminder Carey Price has taken leave from the team, stopped 31 shots in the defeat.
Okposo opened the scoring at the 6:40 mark with the first of his team’s three power-play goals on the night, and then Girgensons deflected a Miller point shot with 2:25 left in the opening frame to double the lead.
Wideman put the visitors on the board just before the midway point, but Olofsson converted during a five-on-three power play with 2:55 remaining in the middle frame to restore the two-goal edge, and then Bjork tallied to extend the lead with 55.6 seconds left in the period.
Thompson’s man-advantage marker at the 4:29 mark of the third period rounded out the scoring for Buffalo, which finished at the bottom of the NHL standings last season and is expected to be at or near that point again this season.
The victory came at a cost for the Sabres, as forward Casey Mittelstadt left the game in the second period due to an upper-body injury. There was no immediate update on the severity of his injury.
–Field Level Media