BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A fast start, a few opportune bounces and rookie goalie Dustin Tokarski's shutout performance allowed the Montreal Canadiens to avoid needing any late-game dramatics on consecutive nights.
A day after being called up from AHL Hamilton, Tokarski made 29 saves to earn his first career shutout in a 2-0 win over the injury-depleted Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.
"It felt pretty good. I'm not going to lie," Tokarski said. "The main thing is the two points going down the stretch here for this hockey team, and just a little icing on the cake with the shutout, I guess."
The shutout was certainly timely for a Canadiens team coming off an emotional high following a 5-4 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. It was a game in which Montreal became the NHL's first team to win by overcoming a three-goal deficit with less than five minutes remaining.
"Every time you play an emotional game, as a coach you're always afraid that the next game could be tougher," coach Michel Therrien said. "But we got a really good start, and this is something we've been doing lately."
Brendan Gallagher and Dale Weise scored 1:26 apart in the first period, both coming off pucks that caromed into the net. Weise opened the scoring when a rebound banked in off his skate. Gallagher's goal came on a rebound that caromed in off the leg of Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.
Montreal (37-25-7) vaulted into second place in the Atlantic Division by jumping ahead of Toronto and Tampa Bay.
The league-worst Sabres (19-41-8) continue heading in reverse, having lost six straight in regulation — their worst streak since losing seven in a row from Dec. 4-19, 2003.
And they've lost another goalie to injury after starter Jhonas Enroth did not return following a collision with Gallagher with 3:51 left in the second period.
Referring to it as a lower-body injury, coach Ted Nolan said Enroth could be out indefinitely.
"It doesn't look like it's going to be short-term," Nolan said. "It seems like we have bad luck, or we have no luck at all."
Gallagher was driving to the net from the left circle and got a shot off when he was struck from behind by Buffalo defenseman Jamie McBain and tumbled directly into Enroth. The goalie lay on the ice for a few minutes before he got up and attempted to stretch his right leg while being examined by a trainer. Enroth then skated to the bench and was escorted into the locker room.