Buffalo goaltender Bob Sauve turned back 24 shots and center Brent Peterson scored the game-winner at 2:30 of the final period in Montreal to take a 1-0 edge in their best-of-five Stanley Cup playoff series.
The Sabres will carry a 1-0 lead into Game 2 of their best-of-five Adams Division semifinal series with Montreal tonight at the Forum.
Peterson finally broke the scoreless deadlock on a rebound after Gilles Hamel forced himself around the Montreal net and tried to tuck the puck into the corner. Rick Wamsley stopped the initial shot but Peterson, left unguarded in front of the net, slapped in the rebound.
Tight penalty-killing by the Sabres and sharp goaltending by Sauve held off five Montreal power plays in the first two periods.
Wamsley was just as stingy in the Canadiens' net, stopping defenseman Phil Housley from close in after the Sabre rookie bulled his way to the Canadiens' crease in the second period.
Pierre Mondou came close to putting the Canadiens ahead midway through the second period when he deked Sauve from close in, only to see the puck roll off his stick wide of the empty net.