Bourque, Desharnais lead Canadiens over Sabres 6-1
MONTREAL (AP) — A rough start to the season got a bit smoother for Lars Eller and David Desharnais on Saturday.
Eller had a goal and two assists and Desharnais scored a pair to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
"We've been struggling a bit the last couple of games so I think it was relief for Davey, too, to see the puck go in twice," said Eller of his and Desharnais' first goals of the season, just 28 seconds apart in the second period. "It's a great feeling to score and a great feeling to win."
After suiting up for the Canadiens' season opener, Eller was a healthy scratch the next two games. He returned to the lineup last Sunday, inserted on the wing with Desharnais and Erik Cole, with Max Pacioretty sidelined following an appendectomy a day earlier.
Desharnais, meanwhile, had struggled to find his breakout form from a season ago, a campaign that saw him pile up 60 points in 81 games.
"I've got to be better, I want to be better," he said. "There's nobody else that's going to feel sorry for me so I've just got to be better and I was tonight. I just want to keep going."
Rene Bourque's pair and a goal from rookie Brendan Gallagher completed the scoring for Montreal (5-2-0), which is averaging 4.4 goals in its five wins.
Carey Price made 30 saves for the Canadiens for his fifth win of the season.
The game marked the season debut for Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, who signed a new contract Monday after sitting out the team's first four games while negotiations went on.
"When you're playing your first game and the team has a great start it's sort of a relief," said Subban, who picked up his first point with an assist on Desharnais' second goal. "I'm just happy with the win here today."
Subban admitted he didn't "feel too great" in his return, recognizing his timing was off. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien planned to ease the blue-liner into the lineup after his long layoff, dressing seven on the back end.
Subban finished the game with 18:01 of ice time, fourth among Montreal's defensemen.
"It's important for us to manage his return and his ice time. Unfortunately there aren't a lot practices available like the others had," Therrien said. "We felt the best way to get him back in was to dress seven defensemen.
"He did very well in his first game."