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.
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.