The waiting was the hardest part. Once the ruling went in their favor, the celebration began for the Boston Bruins.
Mark Recchi tipped Dennis Seidenberg's slap shot past Ryan Miller in overtime, a power-play goal that was initially waved off by the referee, and the Bruins escaped with a 3-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
The game continued until the next whistle, with 1:58 left, but the goal 2:11 into the period officially ended it.
"I knew right away it was in, but then you've got to keep playing because you just don't know," Recchi said. "It went in the net, that's all that matters."
Tim Thomas stopped 28 shots to help Boston bounce back from a shootout loss to Toronto on Saturday.
"We knew it was going to be tough to get some goals," Thomas said. "Falling behind in the third period and coming back and winning like that … that's a big win for us. That's something we needed."
Miller made 33 saves for Buffalo, allowing a goal for the first time since Nov. 27. The shutout streak of 161 minutes, 35 seconds was the longest of his career.
"It's a tough way to lose," said Miller, who had posted consecutive shutouts.
Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton also scored for the Bruins. Luke Adam netted his first NHL goal for Buffalo, but he also raked his stick across Marc Savard's face to give Boston an overtime power play -- a double-minor penalty for high-sticking.
In their first visit to Boston since they were eliminated in the first round of last season's playoffs, the Sabres took a 2-1 lead in the third period on Thomas Vanek's goal. But Horton tied it with 6:21 left in regulation when Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber passed the puck right to him in the slot.
In overtime, Buffalo had a chance to win it when the puck went to Derek Roy right in front of the net, with no Boston players except the goalie to beat. Roy tried to stickhandle Thomas out of position, but Patrice Bergeron finally skated in to break up the play and keep the Bruins in it.
When the puck went the other way, Adam reached up and caught Savard in the face with his stick. The Bruins forward buried his face in his hands in apparent pain as the referee raised his arm for the penalty. Adam was given four penalty minutes for drawing blood, meaning the Bruins would have the power play for the last 3:14 of overtime had they not scored.
With the 4-on-3 advantage, Boston set up in the Sabres end and put together sustained, crisp passing until Seidenberg lined up a slap shot that went over Miller and ricocheted off the back of the net so fast that the referee didn't see it go in. The fans booed, but the Bruins seemed to know that the next whistle would end it.
"I was just hoping for a quick whistle so we could look at it and call it a goal," Seidenberg said.
Miller's shutout streak ended when Lucic sneaked the puck past him as he tried to squeeze the goal post to close the gap. The puck landed behind Miller and over the line; he quickly covered it up with his pad, but Bergeron pointed at the puck until the referee came over and ruled it a goal.
Adam tied it with 7:02 left in the second period when he got to a loose puck in the slot after a scramble and wristed it past Thomas. Vanek converted the go-ahead goal when he went behind the net for the puck and flipped it toward the net. It hit Thomas in the back on his left side and bounced in.
"It's a gut-wrencher when you lose like that," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
1 - 0 BOS
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 BUF
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 BOS
Power Play Stats
Power Play %
% on Road
% at Home
Hi stick - double minor