(Reuters) - Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller backstopped the Sabres to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center Tuesday.
Montreal dominated play from the opening faceoff, outshooting Buffalo 41-23 overall, but Miller was brilliant, particularly in the first half of the game in keeping the score at 1-1.
"Ryan basically stole us this one," Sabres captain Jason Pominville told reporters. "He played great. He's been playing great for a while now and you get to know what to expect out of him.
"He comes in to battle, he never gives up on any shot. He made a couple of big saves to keep us in there."
Montreal defenseman Raphael Diaz scored his first NHL goal, showing great poise moving around Miller before launching a shot into the open net early in the second period.
Jordan Leopold responded for the Sabres firing a rebound past Carey Price.
The game turned for the Sabres on a goal by Thomas Vanek with less than three seconds remaining in the second generated by a perfectly executed play from an offensive zone faceoff.
"To me, we played the game the way we needed to play," Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. "We put pucks behind their D (defense), we forechecked, we created chances. But sometimes you don't control the result."
Christian Ehrhoff sealed the victory with an insurance goal with 29 seconds left in the third period.
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Editing by Alastair Himmer)