Buffalo made up deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 before Brad Boyes scored with 1:16 remaining in overtime to give the Sabres a 4-3 victory at Boston on Thursday night. The win gives the Sabres 74 points, the same as the New York Rangers -- but Buffalo is seventh because it has played two fewer games than New York.
"When you score in overtime this time of year it's exciting," Boyes said. "It's about getting points now. It doesn't matter who we play."
Boyes, a trade deadline acquisition from St. Louis, got the winner after Tim Thomas stopped Nathan Gerbe's 30-footer but couldn't control the rebound. Gerbe found it and slid the puck across to Boyes for a putaway.
"I (was thinking) 'Don't miss it,"' he said. "I think, get my whole body in the way if it bounces, tough ice out there at the end. If it bounces, I have to make sure that, whatever happens, it's not going wide."
Thomas stopped 41 shots but couldn't stop Boyes after Gerbe's twisting shot.
"It was a knuckler," Thomas said. "You can't really control the rebound on that. ... You see strange shots when you give up (45) shots."
The Sabres improved to 4-1-1 on a seven-game trip that ends Saturday night in Toronto by overcoming deficits of 2-0 and 3-2.
"We've fought through some tough situations, played in some tough buildings," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "They came out storming in the first period, got us on our heels, and I thought the answer though the last 40 minutes was pretty special."
Nathan Horton scored midway through the first for Boston, and Mark Recchi doubled the lead at 11:26 of the second. But Tyler Ennis scored just 27 seconds after Recchi's goal, and Thomas Vanek's power-play goal at 18:52 got the Sabres even.
Boston went ahead again when Gregory Campbell picked up the deflection of Zdeno Chara's shot and beat Ryan Miller at 2:18 of the third, but Tim Connolly's goal off a scramble during a 5-on-3 power play, tied the game again at 5:05.
The Bruins lost their third straight game after winning seven in a row. It was their first since a 4-1 loss in Montreal on Tuesday night in which the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty sustained a severe concussion and a cracked vertebra when hit by Chara. Boston's captain was penalized but not suspended by the NHL.
"Obviously, his state of mind is not at best, which is normal," Bruins coach Claude Julien said about Chara. "You understand what's going on. It's not easy but, like I said, I thought he handled himself well tonight."
With Thomas, the NHL's top goaltender this season, and a 2-0 lead, the Bruins had to be feeling good about ending a two-game slide. Instead, the Sabres found a way to get even before intermission.
"Physically, we know they are good," Gerbe said. "They are a top team and they have a lot of good players so we had to play them tough."
Ennis got his 15th of the season when he knocked the puck off Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid in the crease and it slipped past Thomas at 11:53. Vanek tied it with his 24th goal with 68 seconds left in the period, beating Thomas with a short shot that hit the goaltender's glove and trickled into the net -- ending Buffalo's 0-for-18 drought on the power play.
The Bruins jumped in front on a perfect 3-on-2 break, with Milan Lucic passing from left to right just in front of the crease for an easy slam dunk past Miller. Recchi made it 2-0 when he picked up a loose puck and buried it past Miller.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Nathan Horton (19) ASST: Milan Lucic (22), David Krejci (42)|
1 - 0 BOS
|Mark Recchi (12) ASST: Michael Ryder (20), Zdeno Chara (22)|
2 - 0 BOS
|Tyler Ennis (15) ASST: Steve Montador (17), Drew Stafford (15)|
2 - 1 BOS
|PPG - Thomas Vanek (24) ASST: Tyler Ennis (25), Tyler Myers (20)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Gregory Campbell (10) ASST: Zdeno Chara (23), Shawn Thornton (8)|
3 - 2 BOS
|PPG - Tim Connolly (9) ASST: Thomas Vanek (33), Brad Boyes (32)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Brad Boyes (15) ASST: Nathan Gerbe (12)|
4 - 3 BUF
|Power Play %||13.4%||17.8%|
|% on Road||12.2%||14.7%|
|% at Home||14.5%||21.2%|
|Cody McCormick Fighting (maj) against Gregory Campbell|
|Gregory Campbell Fighting (maj) against Cody McCormick|
|Shawn Thornton Interference against Paul Gaustad|
|Tyler Myers Tripping against Brad Marchand|
|Michael Grier Roughing against Adam McQuaid|
|Adam McQuaid Roughing against Michael Grier|
|Zdeno Chara Boarding against Steve Montador|
|Dennis Seidenberg Cross checking against Thomas Vanek|
|Thomas Vanek Too many men/ice - bench|
|Johnny Boychuk Hooking against Cody McCormick|
|Tomas Kaberle Tripping against Michael Grier|
|Paul Gaustad Fighting (maj) against Adam McQuaid|
|Adam McQuaid Fighting (maj) against Paul Gaustad|
|Cody McCormick Fighting (maj) against Milan Lucic|
|Milan Lucic Fighting (maj) against Cody McCormick|
|Chris Butler Roughing against Nathan Horton|
|Mark Recchi Hi-sticking against Chris Butler|
|Brad Marchand Tripping against Andrej Sekera|