Buffalo Sabres 3, Boston Bruins 4, Final OT
The Bruins celebrate their 7th win of the season, 4-3, in OT. (Steve Babineau)
Boston, MA --
With less than one minute to play (4:07), a desperation deflection by veteran Bruins forward Marco Sturm
gave Boston an important 4-3 overtime victory over their Northeast division rivals, the Buffalo Sabres.
"I thought our guys battled back well," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "We went through a little bit of adversity there.
"We let them back in the game.
"That was disappointing, but finding a way to win is always something you can build on."
The Bruins hosted the Sabres Thursday night in the first of eight games between these teams this season and the first of four at the Garden.
|Henry, Werner & Lucchino
The arena was rocking even before the first period began as the ownership team of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Tom Werner, were on hand with the 2004 and 2007 World Series trophies and to drop the ceremonial first puck.
However, the building settled into a quiet din as neither squad was on top of their game early. As such, neither team took advantage of their power play chances (the Bruins were 0/1 and the Sabres were 0/2) and the shot total was also mediocre through 20-minutes: 6 shots for Boston, 5 for Buffalo.
The Bruins got on the board early in the second, when, on the power play, Glen Metropolit shot a rising (and fluttering) slapper past Buffalo's Ryan Miller off a nifty pass from Marc Savard
"I got a good chance there on the power play and Savvy (Savard) made a great pass to me," said Metropolit. "It was a Tim Wakefield knuckle ball -- top shelf."
At 4:21, Boston goalie Tim Thomas
made two point blank saves, including a beauty of a stop on Jason Pominville. Then at 7:39 on the clock, Phil Kessel got a gift from Miller who failed to squeeze the pillows and allowed Boston's second goal.
Buffalo got their own sloppy goal when a defensive miscue by Boston left two men in front of the B's goal with the puck -- Maxim Afinogenov scored at 17:31 to make the game, 2-1.
With Afinogenov's goal the Sabres maintained their momentum through the end of the period, but were unable to tie the game.
They remedied that early in the third, however.
With Savard in the box, Buffalo's Brian Campell beat Thomas, through a screen to make the score, 2-2, at 2:09.
Savard took the Campbell goal personally, and in one fell swoop, he stole the puck, skated down the right side and into the Buffalo zone, faked a pass to Aaron Ward and roofed it over Miller to make it 3-2, Boston, at 3:08.
"In the third, I took a penalty and they scored," said Savard. "You always want to help your team out...I thought me, Muzz (Glen Murray) and Axie (P.J. Axelsson) were buzzing all night."
|Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm, left, of Germany, celebrates his overtime goal after beating Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, right, in overtime during their NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Unfortunately for Savard and his team, just as they had gaine the advantage, Paul Gaustad turned the same trick for Buffalo.
With another Boston skater in the box, Gaustad took advantage of a prone B's defender to tie the score at 8:18.
Neither team was able to gain an advantage in the second half of the third frame and the game went to sudden death overtime tied at 3.
Sturm sent the home fans home happy with his overtime goal.
"I was standing in front of the net and I saw (Aaron Ward) shooting the puck and I got the lucky tip," said Sturm. "It feels good. Obviously we want to start (the month) good, we have a lot of big games in our conference coming up, and that's a big point."
"It's stick-to-it-ivness," said Thomas in summation. "Don't panic. Don't change your game plan.
"We've done a good job with that this year."
Boston next plays against Ottawa Saturday night in Ontario.
|Three star selections