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Savage Leads Canadiens


Few NHL players are hotter than Brian Savage right now.

"I'm in a zone now," Savage said after scoring his seventh goal of the season to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. "I'm not worried about who I'm going against."

Savage poked the puck past defenseman Jay McKee and swept in on the right side to beat Dominik Hasek with a high shot inside the near post at 13:40 of the second period.

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  • Buffalo's Miroslav Satan and Montreal's Jim Cummins, with only his second goal in the last three seasons, had exchanged goals in the first period.

    Savage was coming off a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime win in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

    The winless Sabres, Stanley Cup finalists last season, dropped to 0-3-2.

    "There was a certain amount of passion that was missing," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. "We played carelessly at times and there were a lot of turnovers."

    "It's very frustrating. We were flying high at the end of last season and we're getting (beaten) now. This is a pretty serious wake-up call and now we'll see how we respond."

    It is the Sabres' worst start since they went 0-4-3 to begin the 1990-91 season.

    Montreal, missing six veterans to injuries, outshot Buffalo 19-7 in the first period and 34-21 overall before a relatively low Saturday night crowd of 19,260.

    Missing key veterans like power-play expert Vladimir Malakhov, forward Shayne Corsn and big center Scott Thornton, the Canadiens have kept themselves in games by working hard.

    "If we keep doing that, we'll be fine when our lineup gets better," said Turner Stevenson. "We've got injuries and guys have to step it up and that's what we're doing."

    Satan, who has 37 goals in his last 48 games including playoffs, used Scott Lachance as a screen to beat Jeff Hackett with a blast to the top corner to open the scoring 15:16 into the game.

    Cummins charged the crease and jammed a loose puck under Hasek at 18:54.

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