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Sturm's late goal lifts Bruins past Sabres

BOSTON (AP) -- While the Bruins' front office might be ready to
give up on this season, Brad Boyes and the rest of his Boston
teammates are still holding onto faint playoff hopes.

Marco Sturm scored late in the third period, Boyes had a goal
and two assists, and Boston snapped a three-game losing streak by
beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 Saturday night, just hours after the
Bruins fired general manager Mike O'Connell.

O'Connell was dismissed and replaced by assistant GM Jeff
Gorton, who will run the club the rest of the season. Boston is
28-32-12 and in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, nine points
behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Team president Harry Sinden said he felt the Bruins had little
chance of making the playoffs. But with 10 games remaining --
including three against Montreal -- the Bruins still have a shot.

"We're not going to stop until it's official," Boyes said.
"If it is, that's when we stop. But for us, anything can happen.
We just have to go in and control what we can."

Glen Murray, Tom Fitzgerald and Patrice Bergeron also scored for
Boston, which defeated Buffalo for the first time since March 13,
2004, and improved to 1-6 against the Sabres this season. Buffalo
had outscored Boston 23-12 while winning the first six games of the
eight-game season series.

"I thought the focus was where it needed to be and that was on
the hockey game," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "They
responded and played extremely hard. Fortunately for us, we got the
result."

Tim Thomas, who O'Connell signed to a three-year contract
extension on March 18, made 36 saves -- including 15 in the first
period to help the Bruins protect a 1-0 lead.

Boston squandered a 4-2 advantage the third period, but Sturm
took a pass from Boyes in front and beat Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller
to the short side with 4:49 left to help the Bruins win for only
the third time in 12 games.

"It shows that we have the capability, and it shows that we
have some heart," Thomas said. "I think we just need a little bit
more composure in those situations and we'll come out with more
wins in close games."

Chris Drury and Brian Campbell each had a goal and an assist for
Buffalo, which has lost a season-high five straight. The Sabres,
who hadn't lost five in a row since 2003, are fourth in the East
with 93 points.

"I think maybe we looked too much for the tie," Buffalo center
Daniel Briere said. "But give them credit, they bounced back. From
being up two goals, then losing that lead and still finding a way
to win."

After Derek Roy tied it at 1 at 6:40 of the second period, the
Bruins scored twice in a little more a minute to go up 3-1.

Murray took a cross-ice pass from Brad Isbister and beat Miller
to the right at 8:38. Fitzgerald then scored on a feed from Yan
Stastny at 9:39.

Drury cut the deficit to 3-2 when he took a pass from Maxim
Afinogenov and scored 14:07 into the second.

But Boyes extended the Bruins' lead to 4-2 off an assist from
Murray.

The Sabres scored twice early in the third period. They got even
at 4 when Henrik Tallinder fired a slap shot from just inside the
blue line at 12:52.

Miller made 34 shots, including a stop on Travis Green's penalty
shot in the first period.

Game notes
Boston and Buffalo have played each other five times in
March. The teams will meet once more this month. ... Stastny,
acquired by Boston on March 9, recorded his first career NHL point.
... Five of the seven games between the teams have been decided by
one goal. ... Boston had two 5-on-3 power plays but failed to
score. Buffalo hasn't given up a goal this season with a 5-on-3
disadvantage. ... Boyes ranks third among NHL rookies with 60
points.