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Sabres rally from 3-goal deficit to top Bruins in shootout

BOSTON (AP) -- The end of the Buffalo Sabres' winning streak
didn't seem to cool them off at all.

Buffalo rallied from a three-goal, third-period deficit and beat
Boston 5-4 in a shootout Thursday night, with Ales Kotalik scored
the tying goal with 95 seconds left in regulation and then
converting the last shot in the shootout.


"I still can't believe it happened. I guess that's what we're
capable of," said goalie Ryan Miller, who stopped 30 shots and
then two out of three in the shootout. "We were in a deep hole.
This shows we don't quit."

The Sabres won their first 10 games of the season before falling
to Atlanta in a shootout on Saturday despite rallying from four,
one-goal deficits. They trailed Boston 4-1 before Maxim Afinogenov
scored with 8:49 left in regulation; he got another with 2:30 left
and Kotalik tied it just 55 seconds later.

"I can't remember being on a team that has done that," forward
Chris Drury said. "Coming back that late is pretty unique."

In the shootout, Glen Murray lost the handle on the puck for
Boston before Daniel Briere put it between Tim Thomas' legs. P.J.
Axelsson tried to score straight on, but Miller stopped him, then
Thomas turned back Afinogenov. Patrice Bergeron put one through for
the Bruins, but so did Kotalik.

And the Sabres were back to their winning ways.

Despite scoring in the shootout, Briere's 10-game point streak --
the longest active streak in the NHL -- came to an end for the
Sabres, who have beaten Boston in nine of the last 10 tries.

"This team has always been on the right side of confidence,"
Kotalik said, "especially after winning our first 10 games."

The Sabres had won 15 regular-season games in a row dating to
April 7 of last season -- two short of the NHL record set by the
1993 Pittsburgh Penguins. That's compared to the Bruins, who beat
Ottawa on Saturday for just their third victory of the season and
have not won back-to-back games since March 16-18.

Thomas made 29 saves for the Bruins and Marc Savard had a goal
and two assists for the Bruins, who responded to significant line
changes to score more than three goals for the first time all
season.

"There's no excuse for blowing the lead, but there's a lot of
good things I can take out of it," Bruins coach Dave Lewis said.
"You wonder how I do that, but there were a lot of very good
things happening on the ice for us tonight. We didn't complete the
game. That's the only thing."

Boston outshot the Sabres 16-5 in a scoreless first period and
then outscored them 3-1 in the second to seemingly take control of
the game.

Matt Lashoff scored his first NHL point when he helped spring a
2-on-1 early in the second. He bounced the puck off the boards to
Savard, who took it down the left side, faked a shot from the
circle to draw in defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and then centered it
to Axelsson for the goal.

Axelsson finished with a goal and an assist for Boston.

Jason Pominville tied it when he redirected a slap shot from
Brian Campbell at the 6:43 mark of the second. But Savard scored on
the rebound after Bergeron's slapper hit metal; it was the first
power-play goal allowed by Buffalo in 16 tries.

Murray knocked in the rebound of Savard's shot to give the
Bruins a 3-1 lead heading into the third. Brad Boyes circled behind
the net and backhanded to Mark Mowers, who converted his first goal
as a Bruin to make it 4-1 with 3:56 into the third period.

That's when the Sabres woke up.

Afinogenov made it 4-2 at the 11:11 mark of the third, then
scored again with 2:30 left to pull Buffalo within one. Kotalik
tied it just 55 seconds later when he slid it under Thomas' pads.

Game notes
The Bruins observed a moment of silence in memory of
Celtics icon Red Auerbach before the game. ... Sabres forward
Pominville scored his sixth goal in six games. ... Boston's Marco
Sturm and Andrew Alberts returned to the lineup after missing four
and three games, respectively. ... Savard, a former Atlanta
Thrasher who signed with Boston as free agent, leads the Bruins
with 10 points. ... Boston scored twice on the power play despite
entering the game tied for last in man-down goals; Buffalo was tied
for fourth in killing power plays.