NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Boston
(Saturday, January 3rd)
Final Score: Buffalo 4, Boston 2
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Matt Ellis scored two goals and added an assist, as the Buffalo Sabres put an end to a pair of lengthy Boston streaks with a 4-2 victory over the Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.
The Bruins entered the contest with wins in 10 straight games and a 14-game home winning streak. Boston hadn't lost since a 3-1 setback at Washington on December 10 and was last beaten at the Garden by Toronto on October 23.
Buffalo, however, opened a 2-0 lead in the first period and never trailed in capturing its second straight win. Thomas Vanek and Paul Gaustad also scored for the Sabres, while Ryan Miller made 29 saves in the victory.
"It's a great building block for us," said Ellis. "We needed to come in here prepared because we would be facing a good Bruins team that's been playing some pretty good hockey, especially here on home ice. We knew we had to do the little things well and execute the game plan."
Phil Kessel and Shawn Thornton scored for the Bruins, who fell to 14-2-1 at home for the season. Tim Thomas turned aside 21 shots in defeat.
"We were all enjoying this high we were on and it's unfortunate it has to end some time," said Boston's Marc Savard. "You're not going to win 82 games so we have to get back on it."
Ellis gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead just 3:20 into the contest when he poked in a rebound from the crease, and Vanek netted his 26th of the season just 1:48 later on a power play when he deflected Derek Roy's point shot past Thomas.
"We were going to treat this as a playoff game," Vanek noted. "Boston is the hottest team in the league. We slowed them down. I think we always play pretty good in this building. It's more of a rivalry than people think."
The Bruins got one back midway through the first on a power play, as Kessel scored his 24th of the season. Marc Savard faked a shot from the right circle to draw Miller out of the crease and made a neat backhand feed across to the left circle for Kessel, who rifled a shot into the empty side of the cage.
Ellis picked up his second goal of the game and third of the season just over three minutes into the second period. He corralled the rebound of a deflected point shot, skated around the fallen netminder and deposited the puck into the empty net for a 3-1 edge.
Thornton again pulled Boston within one at 9:51 of the second, as he skated into the Buffalo zone late, took a feed from Martin St. Pierre and ripped a wrister high over the glove hand of Miller for his third goal.
The Sabres restored a two-goal margin 3:15 later. Ellis worked the puck back to the right point for Andrej Sekera, who fired a shot toward the net. Gaustad was jostling for position in front of Thomas and managed to deflect the puck home.
"It seemed like every time we climbed back, we gave them some sort of goal, whether it deflected off people," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "They were getting some breaks tonight and we weren't."
Miller kept Boston off the board in a scoreless third period, stopping all 11 shots he faced, as his teammates mustered just two shots against Thomas.
The 10-game winning streak was the longest for the Bruins since a 13-game run from February 23-March 20, 1971...The Boston record for most consecutive wins at home is 20, set during the 1929-30 season...Jason Pominville picked up a pair of assists for Buffalo...Boston's David Krejci had a 10-game point streak stopped...The Sabres were 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Bruins cashed in once on five chances with the extra skater...The Sabres have won three of the five meetings with the Bruins this season, but the home team had captured each of the first four contests.
01/03 17:02:56 ET