The Buffalo Sabres wasted little time starting their 2009-2010 campaign at home Saturday night but it was Canadiens goaltender Carey Price who stole the show in a 2-1 overtime win.
Just 2:40 into the first period, Sabres forward Tim Connelly one-timed a Craig Rivet point shot past Price for a power-play goal.
Rivet's blast hit former Sabre Jaro Spacek in the leg and redirected to a waiting Tim Connelly for Buffalo's first marker of the season.
That would be all the scoring for Buffalo on Saturday night.
The Sabres dominated much of the play in the first but Price was solid between the pipes.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff liked the effort.
"We didn't give up much, but we had some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of," said Ruff. "They tried to hang around and they got the bounce they wanted."
Buffalo came close late in the first after Montreal defenceman Ryan O'Byrne took a cross-checking penalty.
With the Sabres working the puck around on the power-play, Glen Metropolit collapsed toward Price and deflected a pass from the crease and out of danger.
The period ended with the Sabres on top 1-0.
In the second, the Habs came out with more energy but the Sabres continued to the carry the play. Penalties became the story as there were 13 minors in the second.
After the parade to penalty box, Buffalo had the man-advantage but it was the Canadiens who capitalized.
At the 12:33 mark, Habs forward Travis Moen carried the puck down the right hand boards and barreled into Ryan Miller for his second goal in as many games, tying the score 1-1.
The Sabres goaltender complained that he was interfered with but referee Don Van Massenhoven called it a goal.
Price was the difference in the second turning aside all Sabres shots.
The Canadiens had a good chance to take the lead late in the period.
Buffalo defenceman Henrik Tallinder was called for a questionable interference penalty at 17:35. On the ensuing power-play, a stretch pass sent Guillaume Latendresse in alone on Miller but the Buffalo netminder extended his right pad and stopped the backhand attempt.
Minutes later, there was a scary moment as a Canadiens point shot caught Sabres defenceman Andrej Sekera in the face. He had to be helped off the ice by the training staff but later returned to the game.
The third frame was dominated by Buffalo with a 11-1 shot advantage however Carey Price again shut the door on all scoring attempts.
In overtime, Buffalo forward Derek Roy had two great scoring chances, including one that came inches from beating Price but was turned aside.
On the ensuing rush, Brian Gionta dropped a pass to Scott Gomez who took a shot off the backboards that Gionta batted out of the air and behind Ryan Miller for the winner.
"We'll take it," said Gionta. "I was going to the net trying to find it and it bounced real nice for me. Any time a wristhot goes off the backboards, there's a little bit of luck."
Gomez agreed on the luck.
"I don't know if I could shoot that 100 times and have it bounce right there," Gomez said. "To beat Millsie like that, those are the kind you have to get."
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller could only praise Gionta's effort.
"Great hands," Miller said. "I saw it and was trying to get out of the way from anything hitting me or anybody having an opportunity to bank it in off me. And he knocked it right in."
Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin liked getting the win but knows his team needs to be better.
"We'll take the two points, but at the same time we know we have to improve in certain areas," he said.