Daniel Briere scored to snap Buffalo's 0-for-27 slump on the
power play, and J.P. Dumont added another to break a third-period
tie on Thursday and lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 victory over
the Boston Bruins.
"It's the one area we've really been working on," Sabres coach
Lindy Ruff said. "We did a much better job tonight, and we needed
it to win the game."
Ryan Miller stopped 29 shots for the Sabres, and Ales Kotalik
scored with 6:12 left to make it 4-2. Boston pulled within one just
25 seconds later on Sergei Samsonov's second goal of the game, but
the Bruins failed to mount a threat even after pulling goalie Hannu
Toivonen in the final minute.
Toivonen made 33 saves for the Bruins, and captain Joe Thornton
returned after three games with a strained back.
"I think if we just stay out of the penalty box, we have a good
team five-on-five," said Thornton, who took six shots -- five in
the first period -- and played 22:17. "I felt comfortable. It was
just nice to be on the ice with the boys again."
The Bruins played just their second home game after returning
from a six-game road trip. They held an extra "Fan Appreciation
Night" to reward supporters who stayed with the team despite the
lockout that canceled all of last season.
In a ceremony usually held at the last home game of the season,
the players gave their game sweaters to fans. Another fan won a
car; the rest of the crowd had to settle for a sign that said,
"Thank You Fans!" painted on the ice in bold blue letters.
But Bruins fans didn't get what they were hoping for -- a win.
Boston has lost both home games this season and is 0-5 in the
"The third period, we spent a lot of time in the penalty box,"
Dumont also had an assist, and Kotalik and Tim Connolly had a
goal and an assist apiece for the Sabres. Daniel Briere scored his
fifth goal of the season -- his fourth in the past three games -- on
a first-period power play just as a 5-on-3 was turning into a
one-man advantage. The Sabres had failed to score on 25 power-play
chances coming into the game and their first two tries on Thursday.
"That bolstered our confidence," Connolly said. "Then to
score one (in the third) and hold the lead on the road was nice."
Boston has allowed six power-play goals in three games.
Briere made it 1-0 5:05 in, but Samsonov slapped in a rebound to
tie it for the Bruins just 10 seconds into a power play of their
own. Kevin Dallman got an assist -- his first NHL point -- and
Thornton also assisted on the goal.
P.J. Axelsson gave Boston a 2-1 lead 42 seconds into the second
period when he beat Miller on a nice crossing pass from Hal Gill.
Connolly tied it after some sharp passing left him alone on the
left side of the net with 6:41 to play in the second.
D Brian Leetch was on the ice for six consecutive goals
scored against Boston. ... Bruins forward Shawn McEachern missed
the game with back spasms. ... Buffalo has split four road games
this season, including a 3-2 loss to Florida on Saturday night.
"Our goal this year was not to lose two in a row on the road,"