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Bergeron's OT goal gives Bruins 2-1 win over Sabres

by John Kreiser /

Patrice Bergeron turned one of hockey's basic plays into two points for the Boston Bruins.

Bergeron won a faceoff, went to the front of the net and tipped Zdeno Chara's shot past Ryan Miller 47 seconds into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.

The Bruins won their second straight game -- only the second time this season they've produced a winning streak. This one moved Boston within two points of first-place Buffalo in the Northeast Division.

"That's not really a set play," said Bergeron, who last scored in overtime on Nov. 16, 2006, against Toronto. "You win the faceoff and go to the net. Especially in a 4-on-4, there's more room."

Bergeron beat Tim Connolly on the draw and got the puck to Chara, whose shot made it all possible.

"So much depends on controlling the puck and controlling the play," he said. "I tried to find a lane and wrist it to the net. It's a really innocent, simple play, but those make a big difference."

Milan Lucic, who returned to the Boston lineup on Thursday after missing 14 games with a broken finger, scored his first of the season. Paul Gaustad scored for Buffalo, which has lost two straight.

"It's always disappointing losing ground," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "They've been playing real well and getting some healthy bodies back. They're playing a lot better."

Buffalo outshot Boston 15-6 in the third period and had several good chances to take a lead against goalie Tuukka Rask, who made his third straight start. Rask stopped 25 shots, including a point-blank save on Thomas Vanek early in the third period and a blocker stop on Jochen Hecht's snap shot from the left circle with about four minutes remaining.

Rask has been getting more playing time at the expense of Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas.

"Every game, [Rask] has gotten better and better," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "We're in real good shape there, when you've got a young goalie like him coming up big for us."

Miller made 24 saves, including 14 in the second period.

Gaustad opened the scoring 4:20 into the first period, parking himself in the slot and tipping Jason Pominville's shot from the blue line. But that was all the offense the Sabres could manage.

"We got as many shots as we could," Gaustad said. "Some of them didn't go in."

Lucic converted a 2-on-1 with Byron Bitz midway through the second period to tie the game. Bitz delivered a perfect cross-ice pass to Lucic, who was charging in from the left and snapped a high shot past a helpless Miller.

"I'm relieved. It took a little longer than I hoped [to score the first goal]," Lucic said. "We can't be satisfied with what we've done these last few games. We have to keep pushing forward and wanting it more."

Buffalo played most of the game without Drew Stafford, who is tied for the team lead with six goals. He skated off gingerly midway through the first period and didn't return. Ruff described Stafford's injury as a lower body bone bruise, and said the winger would miss Saturday's game at Ottawa.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

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