Final

Series (Game 6 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Friday, November 7th
Canadiens1Final
Sabres2
Game 2: Saturday, November 8th
Sabres0Final
Canadiens3
Game 3: Tuesday, January 6th
Sabres1Final
Canadiens3
Game 4: Tuesday, January 27th
Canadiens1Final
Sabres4
Game 5: Wednesday, March 24th
Canadiens1Final
Sabres2
Game 6: Saturday, April 3rd
Sabres3Final
Canadiens6

Sabres 3

(37-34-4, 85 pts)

Canadiens 6

(41-30-4, 93 pts)

7:00 PM ET, April 3, 2004

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
BUF 0 2 13
MTL 2 2 26

M. Ryder (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

P. Dagenais (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

S. Souray (Canadiens - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Canadiens will play Leafs or Bruins

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens are in for an Original Six playoff matchup in the first round of the playoffs, they just don't know if they'll be playing Toronto or Boston.

The Canadiens ended the regular season with a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Should the Bruins lose or tie in New Jersey on Sunday, Montreal will face Toronto. The NHL's two oldest clubs have not met in the postseason since 1979, when Montreal swept a four-game quarterfinal series.

If the Bruins beat the Devils, Montreal will play Boston.

"It will be interesting either way," Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "If it's Toronto, it's great for hockey, but it's the same if it's Boston. It'll be exciting and physical hockey and a great series either way."

Pierre Dagenais scored twice in the first period, and Jim Dowd, Richard Zednik, Michael Ryder and Steve Begin also had goals for Montreal, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

Brian Campbell, Daniel Briere and Jean-Pierre Dumont scored for the Sabres, who were eliminated from playoff contention with a 2-0 loss to Toronto on Friday night.

Montreal outshot the listless Sabres 39-27, including 11-3 in the first period.

"We were eliminated, so it was tough to get up for the game," said Briere, whose team put on a 9-2-1-3 charge in the last month in a bid to grab the last playoff spot.

"We gave it a good run and came up just short."

The game deteriorated into fights and chippy play late in the game.

Souray, who is playing with an "upper body" injury -- a sore wrist or shoulder -- blamed Sabres coach Lindy Ruff for sending out his tough guys in the third period. Andrew Peters tried to start a fight with Souray, but Stephane Quintal stepped in and they squared off.

Quintal emerged with a welt on his left cheek.

"That's so typical of (Ruff)," Souray said. "That's the way he's always been as long as I can remember."

Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet left after the first period with a sore back.

"Taking him out was a preventive measure," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "We hope to have him back 100 percent healthy soon."

Dagenais scored his 16th and 17th goals on similar plays deep in Buffalo territory, when he swept shots from the slot area inside the post behind Mika Noronen.

Dowd jumped on a big rebound and scored from the slot 2:11 into the second period, but Campbell made it 3-1 just 27 seconds later when he banged in Mike Grier's rebound.

Zednik was left alone in front to score at 3:47, giving Montreal its first power-play goal in eight games and ending an 0-for-23 slump with the man advantage.

Briere scored with 4:44 left in the middle period to bring Buffalo within 4-2.

The rookie Ryder swept in on a rush and scored his 25th goal on a wrist shot 4:45 into the third period on an assist from Dagenais. Ryder also had three points.

Dumont closed the gap to 5-3 with a breakaway goal at 11:54, but Begin got it back, also on a breakaway, only seven seconds later.

The Canadiens have the day off Sunday as they prepare for the playoffs.

Game notes


The teams ended their season series 3-3, with the home team winning each. ... Andreas Dackell sat out the final four games of the season and Yanic Perreault missed the last two for Montreal. ... The Sabres had 10 more wins and 13 more points than last season when they were 27-37-10-8.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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