Samsonov breaks tie with 7:12 left


BOSTON (AP) -- Cam Neely provided the inspiration the Boston
Bruins needed Monday night to keep their unbeaten streak alive.

On the night Neely became the 10th Bruin whose number was
retired, Sergei Samsonov's tiebreaking goal with 7:12 remaining
lifted the Boston to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

"I talked to our players about drawing inspiration from this
guy because he is the consummate Bruin," coach Mike Sullivan said.
"But, I was hoping to draw the inspiration a little earlier,
because it took us a while to get going."

Samsonov helped the Bruins rally from a two-goal deficit when he
scored a power-play goal from inside the blue line. Boston has won
four straight and is 5-0-1 in its last six games.

It was only Samsonov's third goal since Nov. 8.

"It was a slow first period and we regrouped after the
intermission," Samsonov said. "I'm not sure what it was, maybe
just sitting around. We have more confidence we can score now. It's
a different mentality."

After Jason Botterill gave Buffalo a 3-1 lead 2:35 into the
second period, the Bruins scored three straight goals -- two by
rookie Patrice Bergeron.

"If you look at the entire game, we played pretty solid,"
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We didn't give up a whole lot of
chances, but when we did, they went in. We missed too many
opportunities to bury them."

After pulling the Bruins within a goal with 4:52 remaining in
the second, Bergeron tied it when he knocked in a rebound of Nick
Boynton's slap shot 4:23 into the third. Bergeron has six goals in
eight games and is tied for the team lead with 13.

"Patrice is a great player who is beyond his years," Brian
Rolston said. "There aren't too many 18-year olds that come into
the league and do what he is doing."

Jochen Hecht built the Sabres' lead to 2-1 when he scored an
unassisted short-handed goal with seven minutes left in the first.
Hecht has a goal and three assists in the last three games.

Boston has allowed nine short-handed goals this season, trailing
only the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, who have given
up 10.

Daniel Briere gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead when he knocked Hecht's
pass by goalie Andrew Raycroft at 7:21 of the first. Briere leads
Buffalo with 30 points.

Joe Thornton tied it 1-1 when he caught Martin Biron out of
position and scored with 10:25 remaining in the first. Thornton,
who also assisted on Bergeron's first goal, has three goals and
four assists in six games.

Boston missed an opportunity to get even late in the first
period when Mike Knuble's goal was disallowed because he knocked
the puck in with a high stick.

Knuble assisted on the game-tying goal and has six points in
five games for the Bruins.

The Sabres were 0-4 on the power play and Boston has killed off
59 of its last 61 short-handed situations.

Game notes
The Bruins play Buffalo four times during the next 24 days.
... Brian Rolston has not scored in 12 games for Boston. ...
Buffalo is 1-4-2 in its last seven road games. ... Sandy McCarthy
and Travis Green left the game with injuries for Boston. ...
Buffalo is 0-4-1 in its last five at Boston.