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Drouin's shootout goal lifts Canadiens

Jonathan Drouin scores the only shootout goal in Montreal’s 3-2 opening win over the Sabres. He also has an assist and five shots on goal.

Associated Press

Jonathan Drouin scores the only shootout goal in Montreal’s 3-2 opening win over the Sabres. He also has an assist and five shots on goal.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jonathan Drouin scored the lone shootout goal in rallying the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Sabres on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

Phillip Danault forced overtime by scoring a shorthanded goal on a wraparound with 11:59 left. Max Pacioretty also scored for Montreal. Carey Price stopped 43 shots through overtime and all three shootout attempts following an offseason in which he re-signed for eight years and $84 million.

Drouin settled the shootout by driving directly at Robin Lehner. Faking to his left to catch Lehner leaning, Drouin went to his backhand and deposited the puck into the open right side. Drouin also had an assist in his first game with Montreal since the Quebec-born player was acquired in an offseason trade with the Lightning.

Jason Pominville scored twice in his first game back with Buffalo since being reacquired in a trade with Minnesota in June. Lehner stopped 38 shots and the Sabres earned one point in Phil Housley's debut as coach.

Jack Eichel set up Pominville's second goal with a perfect cross-ice feed two days after the 20-year-old franchise player signed an eight-year, $80 million contract extension.

Buffalo is coming off a tumultuous offseason in which general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma were fired after it missed the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. Jason Botterill took over as GM in May and a month later hired Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman.

Game highlights: Jake DeBrusk, son of former Lightning wing Louie DeBrusk (1997-98), had a goal and an assist in his first NHL game, Charlie McAvoy had a goal and an assist in his first regular-season appearance, and the host Bruins beat the defending Western Conference champion Predators 4-3 in the season opener for both teams. … Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 shots, Tyson Barrie scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and the Avalanche beat the host Rangers 4-2 in the teams' season opener. … Alex Ovechkin scored three goals in 6:33 of the third and then scored in the shootout as the Capitals beat the host Senators 5-4 in both teams' opener. Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored in the shootout, won by Washington 2-1.

Devils partner with women's league: New Jersey is the first NHL franchise to partner with a National Women's Hockey League team, the Metropolitan Riveters. The goal is to support the growth of the NWHL, a four-team league that started in 2015. The Devils will help with marketing and facilities for Riveters games and practices in Newark. The Devils and Riveters will host a doubleheader Oct. 28 at the Prudential Center. The Riveters will open their season against Boston in the afternoon, and the Devils will play the Coyotes at night. The other NWHL teams are in Stamford, Conn., and Buffalo, N.Y.

Around the league: The Hurricanes, who didn't have a captain last season, now have two: forward Jordan Staal and defenseman Justin Faulk. Staal will begin the season as the captain at home and Faulk for road games. They will switch at midseason. The player not serving as captain will join forward Jeff Skinner as an alternate.

Drouin's shootout goal lifts Canadiens 10/05/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 5, 2017 11:02pm]
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