Sabres power play keys opening win against Canadiens

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BUFFALO — Zemgus Girgensons had a goal and an assist for the Buffalo Sabres in a 5-1 win in their season opener against the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Girgensons, who scored on a redirection at 17:35 of the first period to make it 2-0, was playing in his first game since March 9, 2020, after missing all of last season because of hamstring surgery.

Victor Olofsson also had a goal and an assist, and Jeff Skinner, Colin Miller and Jacob Bryson each had two assists for the Sabres (1-0-0), who scored three goals on the power play. Craig Anderson made 30 saves.

Chris Wideman scored, and Sam Montembeault made 31 saves for the Canadiens (0-2-0), who were the playing the second game of a back-to-back following a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Kyle Okposo gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 6:40 of the first period, taking a pass from Bryson and beating Montembeault short side from the top of the right circle.

Wideman was left uncovered at the right side of the net to cut it to 2-1 at 9:33 of the second period. It was his first goal since Oct. 13, 2018, when he scored two for the Ottawa Senators against the Los Angeles Kings. Wideman played in the American Hockey League in 2019-20 and in the KHL in 2020-21.

Olofsson scored on the power play from the right circle at 17:05 to put Buffalo ahead 3-1, and Anders Bjork pushed it to 4-1 at 19:04, pouncing on the rebound at the side of the net after Girgensons’ shot hit Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.

Tage Thompson extended the lead to 5-1 with another power-play goal at 4:29 of the third period. Olofsson’s initial shot from the right circle was blocked and bounced out to Thompson, who shot top shelf from the left circle.

Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury.

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