Tyler Ennis #63 of the Buffalo Sabres is checked by Ryan White #53 of the Montreal Canadiens at First Niagara Center on February 7, 2013 in Buffalo
Photograph by: Rick Stewart, Getty Images
BUFFALO — It may be a while before we see Ryan White back in the Canadiens' lineup.
White emerged from purgatory Thursday, but his night turned into a hockey hell as he took a double minor penalty that allowed the Buffalo Sabres to launch a comeback that ended in a 5-4 shootout victory.
"It was unacceptable," said head coach Michel Therrien. "That's the third time he has cost us with undisciplined play."
The last time was last Wednesday in Ottawa when White, whose game is based on being a physical player, took a roughing penalty and then received another two minutes for mouthing off to the referee. The Senators scored twice with White in the box to snap a 1-1 tie and went to a 5-1 win.
White watched the next three games from the penalty box, but an injury to Travis Moen offered him a chance at redemption.
He blew it.
This time around, White took a two-minute roughing penalty and then received another two when he failed to goad Steve Ott into a fight. A 4-2 lead was cut to one goal when Thomas Vanek scored 25 seconds later.
"Obviously, it was a selfish play," White said. "I thought he went kind of low on me and that's what he does. He's a smart player and I reacted in the wrong way. I cost my teammates another two points."
When he was asked whether opponents were taking advantage of his undisciplined play, White replied: "Sure, I'd be doing it, too, Like I say, I don't even know what to say about it."
The two meltdowns have both come with Peter Budaj in net. It appeared that the backup goaltender might salvage a win in this one, but Vanek was credited with his 10th goal of the season when the puck went in during a traffic jam in front of the net with 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock.
"It's a matter of opinion," Budaj said when asked whether the goal should have been upheld after the video review. "I thought Ott is good at what he does and I thought he pushed me in the crease. I pushed him and he pushed me and I thought the whistle might have been blown."
Budaj said the shootout loss was "tough because when you score four goals on the road, you should win. I thought we did a lot of good things as a team. We made a few mistakes and it cost us. It's a tough way to go, especially when you're up two goals.
"I felt good," said Budaj, who made 36 saves. "Obviously, I let in four goals and I'd want a few back, but I made a few saves and had some big stops on the PK. It's a tough way to go, but at least we got one point."
"We have to turn the page and learn from it," said Tomas Plekanec, who scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season and was again a major factor in the penalty-killing unit that limited Buffalo to one goal on seven chances. He led all forwards with ice time of 23:11.
"I thought we've played well as a team," said Plekanec, who is feeling comfortable with a healthy Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque on his wings. "The first 10 games have been good and we can see the areas where we have to improve and we have to keep going forward."
The Canadiens are 6-3-1 but have squandered leads in the third period in the last two games.
"Obviously, that's one of the areas where we have to be better," Plekanec said. "We have to figure a way to win those games."
The Canadiens also have to cut down on penalties. They currently rank 28th in the NHL.
"It doesn't help us to be in the box for half the game," Plekanec added. "We also have to figure out what the calls are going to be. Sometimes, it's confusing for both sides, but it's difficult to get any flow if there are a lot of penalties."
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