You don’t win points for style, so you’ll have to forgive the Montreal Canadiens for not being willing to toss back the two they earned in the standings with their 2-1 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

It was a hideous performance, on home ice, on Hockey Night in Canada – especially for a team that had lumbered out to a franchise-worst start to a season in 76 years before finally stringing together some wins to bring the playoff picture back to within view.

The Canadiens, who had won five of their last seven games coming into Saturday’s contest, had a layup and nearly bricked it off the bottom of the rim. The Sabres had come to town as the 30th-best hockey team in the 31-team NHL, on the heels of a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers a night prior, and were ripe for the taking.

And yet, somehow, it was the Sabres who took 25 of the first 36 shots recorded in Saturday’s game; it was the Sabres who led 1-0 after two periods; it was the 5-9-2 Sabres who looked like they were going to deliver a devastating blow to Montreal’s resurgence.

Le Journal de Montreal’s Jonathan Bernier jokingly asked Canadiens coach Claude Julien after the game if his team had intentionally tried to lull the Sabres to sleep through the first 40 minutes in order to pounce on their tired legs over the final 20.

“No,” said Julien. “That wasn’t exactly the strategy. If I drew up strategies like that, I wouldn’t be coaching here very long.”

Believe him.