<
>

Canadiens jump on Sabres early in victory

12/21/2002

MONTREAL (AP) -- Doug Gilmour and the Montreal Canadiens made
their shots count.

Gilmour scored twice, and Yanic Perreault and Saku Koivu each
had a goal and two assists to lead Montreal to a 6-2 victory over
the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Richard Zednik and Chad Kilger also scored for the Canadiens, who won their second straight, and sixth in eight.

Montreal, which scored all six goals on its first 12 shots, was
outshot 38-16.

"People seem to pay a lot of attention to shots -- and we do,
too -- but we look more at scoring chances,'' Canadiens coach Michel
Therrien said. "For us, we were able to finish. We took advantage
of our scoring chances.''

Montreal scored three times on four shots in the second period
against Mika Noronen, who took over from Martin Biron after the Canadiens scored twice on six shots in the first.

"It was like when I have a nightmare and I can't put my glove
on the puck or stop anything, only I never woke up,'' Noronen said.

Jose Theodore made 36 saves for Montreal, allowing Adam Mair's
goal with 3:14 left in the second -- 44 seconds after Zednik put
Montreal up 5-0 -- and Miroslav Satan's power-play goal with 1:58
left in the third.

"It feels a lot like last year,'' Theodore said. "The guys are
scoring big goals, I'm making big saves and from there, we come out
of it with a win.''

Buffalo, which lost 3-0 to Florida on Friday, is 1-4-1 in its
last six games.

Perreault scored off a scramble in front of Biron 3:21 in, and
Gilmour made it 2-0 with a power-play goal on Mariusz Czerkawski's
behind-the-back pass across the crease at 10:25.

Noronen replaced Biron and allowed goals on the first two shots
he faced. Koivu scored on Montreal's seventh shot of the game when
he beat Noronen through the legs for his 11th of the season at
3:43.

Gilmour got his eighth -- second of the game -- three minutes
later when he tipped Perreault's shot in to put the Canadiens up
4-0 on their eighth shot.

"When you get up 4-0 or 5-1, it's not as if you're sitting
back, but you're not going too aggressive or anything, so that's
why we didn't have as many shots,'' Gilmour said.

Zednik increased the lead to five at 16:02 with his 16th on
Montreal's 10th shot.

Mair got his third goal of the season at 16:46 when Theodore
failed to stop the puck after the Sabres center lost control of it
while driving to the net.

Koivu got his third point 6:29 into the third when he set up
Kilger's fifth goal on a 2-on-1.

Game notes
Sabres C Tim Connolly's shot hit Theodore's left arm before
striking the right post before Perreault opened the scoring. ...
Koivu's goal was his 300th career regular-season point. ... Gilmour
and Perreault both have five-game point streaks. Perreault has five
goals and four assists in that stretch, while Gilmour has four
goals and four assists. ... Montreal, which doesn't play at home
again until Jan. 9, begins a season-high, seven-game road trip in
New York against the Islanders on Monday.