NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Boston
(Monday, January 15th)
Final Score: Boston 3, Buffalo 2 (SO)
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Marco Sturm notched the lone goal in the shootout, and Tim Thomas stopped all three Buffalo chances, as the Boston Bruins topped the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2 at TD Banknorth Garden.
Marc Savard and P.J. Axelsson tallied for the Bruins, who snapped a three-game losing skid. Tim Thomas made 34 stops in all, earning his 19th win of the year.
Derek Roy picked up a goal and an assist, and Jochen Hecht also scored for the Sabres, who have struggled of late, dropping three straight for the first time this season, and five of their last seven games. Ryan Miller stopped 35 shots in a valiant losing effort.
Sturm beat Miller on the Bruins' first shootout try by sneaking a wrister far side high as he shot across his body. Thomas halted chances by Daniel Briere, Ales Kotalik, while Miller turned aside Glen Murray, then Thomas stuck the glove out on Thomas Vanek's try to end the contest.
"I thought it was good effort the whole game. I don't think we could play a better period than we did in the first," said Bruins head coach Dave Lewis. "It's funny how that one goal in a shootout can change your whole attitude toward the game. I don't know if it was the (line combination changes) but our whole energy was different today."
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead on the power play 3:23 into the game, as Savard pumped home his 17th of the season from the inner edge of the right circle. Boston took the first five shots in the contest, and played with a sense of urgency against their rivals.
However, Buffalo responded at 5:57 when Daniel Paille's right point drive ticked off Thomas and caromed right to Roy standing at the left of the crease, and his shot rang off the far pipe and in.
It would be a 2-1 lead for the Sabres midway through the first when Hecht corralled a loose puck along the goal line to the left of the net, and slid it over the goal line before Thomas and a Bruins defenseman could smother the chance.
A Buffalo miscue with eight-tenths of a second to go provided a 2-2 tie for the home club. Bruins defenseman Brad Stuart let go a high wrister from the right wing which Miller stopped with his chest, but the rebound squirted out where it deflected off Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek's skate and slipped back through Miller's pads.
After a review, it was determined the puck crossed the line before the end of the period, and that Axelsson was the last Bruin to touch the puck as he was guarded by Spacek.
In the scoreless second and third periods, Miller and Thomas traded spectacular saves to keep the game tied. Both sides engaged in a frantic overtime session, but did not come up with any quality chances due to the fatigue of an emotionally draining contest.
"We didn't play very well in the first period but Ryan held us in there and made some great saves throughout the whole game," Sabres forward Adam Mair said. "I thought we dominated play in the second half of the third period and probably could have won it a number of times but didn't get it done."
It was Boston's first win of the season in three tries against the Northeast Division leaders...Buffalo forward Paul Gaustad was not in the lineup and did not make the trip to the Hub due to an undisclosed upper-body injury...Savard has five goals in his last five games...Bruins forward Wayne Primeau left the game in the second period and did not return. He left the Garden with his left arm in a sling with an apparent shoulder injury...Buffalo falls to 6-2 in the shootout, and the B's improve to 4-3.
01/15 17:18:30 ET