BUFFALO — Just two months ago, allowing the tying goal with 3.5 seconds left in regulation likely would’ve cooked the Sabres, defenseman Tyler Myers said.
“I would say it would be very tough for our group,” said Myers, whose goal 2:01 into overtime Monday clinched a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, the surging Sabres’ ninth triumph in 12 tries.
Back in January, the Sabres had morphed into a disjointed, ugly mess. They wilted under adversity. A playoff run seemed unfathomable.
On Monday, David Desharnais’ late tally following a mad scramble inside the First Niagara Center only forced the Sabres to regroup a bit. They handle any bad breaks well these days.
“We’ve come a very long way mentally as a team the way we responded after,” Myer said. “Those goals don’t feel good. The way we responded was a big sign of life.”
When Ryan Miller came to bench before overtime, the amped-up goalie implored his teammates.
“There was good emotion on the bench,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “There’s no use hanging your head. I think his message was, ‘Let’s go out and win this thing.’ He kept yelling, ‘Let’s go out and win it.’ I think that’s the kind of leadership you need.”
Miller said he told the Sabres “just don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Go and get the win.” He wanted to “snap everybody out of their shock.”
A couple of minutes later, Myers snapped what remained of the capacity crowd of 18,690 fans from their shock, beating goalie Peter Budaj on a three-on-three break.
As the trailer, Myers had a step on a Montreal defender. He grabbed Derek Roy’s pass a few steps inside the blue line, skated to the inside of the right circle and tallied his eighth goal.