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Bruins fall to Sabres 6-1, handing San Jose the Presidents' Trophy

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Thomas Vanek scored two goals, including his 40th, and had an assist in the Buffalo Sabres' season-ending 6-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday that clinched the Presidents' Trophy for the San Jose Sharks.

Mikael Tellqvist made 33 saves, and Tim Connolly and Matt Ellis had a goal and assist each for the Sabres, who were eliminated from playoff contention this week. Daniel Paille and Chris Butler also scored in helping Buffalo finish on a 7-2-1 run.

The Bruins (52-19-10), who close the regular season at the New York Islanders on Sunday, will settle for having the best record in the Eastern Conference. Their loss ended their bid to catch San Jose for the NHL's top mark.

Mark Recchi spoiled Tellqvist's bid for a shutout by deflecting in Matt Hunwick's point shot with 6:05 remaining.

Boston prepared for the post-season by resting several regulars, including captain Zdeno Chara and starting goalie Tim Thomas. Phil Kessel, who leads the team with 33 goals, also didn't play because of the flu.

The Bruins avoided a big scare in the first period when Dennis Wideman, second among Boston defencemen with 49 points, limped off after being struck in the left leg by Drew Stafford's shot. Wideman missed the final six minutes of the period before returning in the second.

Vanek hit the 40-goal mark for the second time in the final minute when he stuffed a bouncing puck under goalie Manny Fernandez.

Buffalo, coming off a 5-1 win at Carolina on Thursday, scored four times on its first 16 shots, jumping to a 4-0 lead 17:08 in when Paille pushed in a loose puck that had gotten behind Fernandez. The goal came 1:25 after Vanek one-timed Jason Pominville's cross-ice pass to convert a 2-on-1 break.

Connolly opened the scoring 3:34 in by flipping in a rebound after Fernandez stopped Vanek's shot from the left circle. Butler made it 2-0 with a rising shot from the left point.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier was the target of fans' frustration in the third period, when chants of "Fire Regier" rained down.

Notes: Bruins RW Mikko Lehtonen made his NHL debut. Boston's 2005 second-round pick, Lehtonen had a team-leading 28 goals for Providence (AHL) this season. ... The Sabres finished with 250 goals for and 234 against, joining Minnesota as the only teams to miss the playoffs this season with more goals scored than allowed. ... Sabres D Teppo Numminen had an assist in what could be his final NHL game. Numminen, who came back after having heart surgery last year, completed his 20th season and is unsigned.

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