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NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Boston

(Saturday, April 5th)

Final Score: Buffalo 3, Boston 0

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Thomas Vanek recorded his fourth hat trick of the season, accounting for all Buffalo goals as the Sabres shut down Boston, 3-0, at TD Banknorth Garden.

Jocelyn Thibault stopped all 17 shots he faced to post his second shutout of the season for the Sabres, who completed their schedule with three wins in four contests. Buffalo finished out of playoff contention despite a 39-31-12 record.

"I just wanted to finish with a good game and at least go home with a good taste," Thibault said. "Guys just played a tremendous game tonight. We played probably our best defensive game of the year, and I appreciate the fact they did that for me."

Tim Thomas allowed two goals on 27 shots for the Bruins, who finished their regular-season slate having lost three of their last four games.

Boston, which ended the year 41-29-12, fell into the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa holds the sixth seed with two more wins than the Bruins.

Following Montreal's win over Toronto later Saturday, the B's are guaranteed to face Montreal in the first round of the playoffs. If the Flyers top Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Bruins slip to eighth and play the top-seeded Canadiens. Should the Penguins win Sunday, the Bruins remain in seventh and take on the Habs who become the second-seed. The Canadiens were 8-0 against the Bruins during the regular season.

"The reason we are here today is that they bought into it and decided to play well together as a group," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "I'm going to be honest, there are some teams that are out right now that on paper, people are going to say are a lot better than the Boston Bruins but they weren't better than the Boston Bruins when it came down to team play."

Buffalo got all the offense it needed with two goals in the second period.

Vanek put the Sabres on the board 1:01 in with a power-play goal. Jochen Hecht wrapped the puck around the end boards from the left wing to the right for Derek Roy, who quickly dished in front to Vanek for a one-timer.

Buffalo went up 2-0 with 8:22 left in the second as Vanek stood at the left side of the crease to tip home Andrej Sekera's point shot for another man- advantage tally.

Vanek was allowed to finish off the hat trick with 43 seconds to play, as Roy dished across for a backhander into the empty net which was the Austrian sniper's team-best 36th goal of the season.

"You have to realize that our team was battling for their lives now for the last month and we clinched a playoff spot last night," added Julien of the Bruins' lackluster effort. "Part of it is a natural thing for the guys to take a deep breath and relish the fact they accomplished their goal and maybe we didn?t have our total focus tonight."

Game Notes

Vanek has four career hat tricks, all coming this season after the All-Star break...Each club won four games in the season series...Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen made his season-debut, cleared to play after open-heart surgery in the off-season. Over an 18-year NHL career, the Finnish backliner has played in 1,315 games...Thibault notched his 39th career whitewash.

04/05 23:42:43 ET

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