The Montreal Canadiens are off to a hot start this season and they show no signs of slowing down, with a 7-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. They have become the second NHL team in history and the first in over 40 years to start the regular season with eight consecutive regulation wins. The last team to do so was the Buffalo Sabres in the 1975-1976 season.
The Canadiens are just two victories shy of the NHL record of ten consecutive wins. In 1993-1994 the Maple Leafs started the season 10-0-0, but one victory came in overtime. The Sabres also had a 10-0-0 start in the 2003-2004 season, but three wins came in shootouts.
In Friday night’s game, veteran defenseman Andrei Markov had one goal and four assists. Forwards Dale Weise and Brendan Gallagher each put up a pair of goals for the Habs.
In addition to tacking up an impressive 5 points Friday night, Markov reached a career milestone of 500 points. The 500th point came with his assist on Max Pacioretty’s third period goal. Markov went on to assist Weise on his second goal of the game, to finish up with 501 career points.
Overall, the Habs put up a stellar effort. Backup goaltender Mike Condon made an impressive 34 saves. Thomas Plekanec and P.K. Suban each had three assists.
The Canadiens took the lead towards the end of the first with a goal by Weise. Just 45 seconds into the second period, Gallagher scored to put the Habs up by two. The Sabres fought back in the second, with Matt Moulson scoring five minutes into the period and Ryan O’Reilly tying things up with a powerplay goal mid-way through the second.
Unfortunately, that was all the momentum that the Sabres could muster. Former Sabres forward Torrey Mitchell broke the tie just a few minutes later, and Markov put the Habs up by 2 before the end of the second. In the third period, the Canadiens ran away with the game, with goals by Gallagher, Pacioretty, and Weise.
Despite the big win, the Canadiens are still taking things as they come.
“It’s always good to win,” Gallagher said. “We just have a one-game-at-a-time mentality. It won’t change. Take this for what it is, we have another game [Saturday] night and we move on to that one.”
The Canadiens are hoping to expand their winning streak against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at home in Bell Centre.
“We have a good team,” Gallagher continues. “We have a lot of confidence when we step on the ice. No matter what situation we’re faced with we’re going to find a way to come through with two points and we did that again tonight.”