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Bruins top Sabres in double OT for 3-1 series lead

by John McGourty
BOSTON -- Miroslav Satan's name is sprinkled liberally through the Buffalo Sabres' record book -- he's in the top 10 in goals, power-play goals and game-winners.

On Wednesday night, he put a big hole in his old team's playoff hopes.

Satan's power-play backhander past Miller at 7:41 of the second overtime period gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Sabres and a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. Boston can close out the series Friday night by winning in Game 5 in Buffalo, where Satan played for eight seasons.


"I'm glad I was able to help. I don't even remember how it happened," said an exhausted Satan, who signed with the Bruins at midseason.

The Sabres were penalized for too many men on the ice at 5:50 of the second overtime. With Drew Stafford due out of the box in nine seconds, Michael Ryder took a pass from goalie Tuukka Rask, skated up ice and centered a pass to Satan racing down the slot.

Satan's fake froze Miller in his crease and he moved to his right before whipping a backhander between Miller and falling defenseman Tyler Myers.

Satan was asked if he knew that Miller was out of position by the time he shot.

"I think I had something to do with it," he replied. "I tried to sell him that I was shooting, and then he came out and I moved to the side and I had room."

Ryder, who like Satan had been robbed by Miller in the first overtime, said the winning play happened almost by accident.

"Tuukka gave it to me and I wasn't sure what I was going to do," Ryder said. "I had a bit of ice to skate with and I knew there wasn't much time left on the power play so I wanted to get in the zone. When (Marco Sturm) drove to the net, it opened up the lane there.

"I knew there was a lane when I gave it to him. Sturmie drove the net and gave him an opening. I was just hoping he could score. I was just thinking, 'bury it, bury it.' Miro made a great move to challenge Miller and he just deked him with his backhand."

Satan was ferocious on the final shift. He dogged Buffalo's penalty-killers along the goal line and up the left boards before they were able to briefly clear the puck. Rask rushed the pass to Ryder, who tore up the boards before making the pass.

The winning goal resulted from hard work, awareness, speed and a goal scorer's skill, Boston coach Claude Julien said.

"(Satan) made those great plays to keep the puck in, a good stick, knocking pucks down, that's Miro in a nutshell," Julien said. "He's such a highly skilled player and calm in situations. You saw him score that goal, he doesn't panic in those areas. He's got a great stick and great vision. In tight on the goaltender, he's hard to stop.

"A lot of that was created because of him, he kept the puck in. On that winning goal, I thought Michael did a great job bringing the puck up the ice, going around the defender and finding (Satan) in the slot."

It was the second career playoff overtime goal for Satan; the other came on April 23, 1999, when he scored the winner 10:35 into the second OT to give Buffalo a 3-2 win over Ottawa. Satan spent eight seasons with the Sabres and is among the franchise's leaders in goals, power-play goals and game-winners.

After Boston got two goals in the third period to force overtime, both teams had excellent chances early in the first extra period. Buffalo's Tim Connolly nearly won it at 4:50 when his power-play slap shot from the left point beat Rask cleanly but rang off the post. Boston's Blake Wheeler had a shorthanded breakaway 20 seconds later but was stopped by Miller, who also made a big save a couple of minutes later when he went post-to-post to rob Bergeron, who was alone in the left circle and appeared to have a wide-open net. Miller robbed Ryder and Satan later in the first OT.

"He made a great save on me in the first overtime," Satan said. "I don't think there are too many goalies -- maybe two in the League, and they were both out on the ice -- who could have made that save. He made a great save there, but eventually I got him."

Buffalo, which was 30-0-0 during the regular season when leading after two periods, failed to close out a game with a third-period lead for the second time in three games. The Bruins entered the third period down two goals but needed less than seven minutes to get even.

David Krejci got the Bruins on the board at 2:07 when he was able to get to the rebound of Matt Hunwick's shot after Miller made the original save. With Miller battling Bergeron at the top of the crease, Krejci dug out the loose puck, took a step to the side and hit the wide-open net for his first of the series.

Bergeron tied it at 6:40 when he whipped a shot from the bottom of the left circle under the pad of Miller, who might have been expecting him to pass back into the slot. Rask preserved the tie late in the third with a diving save on Mike Grier.

Both teams had eight shots in each of the first two periods, but the Sabres were able to put one past Rask in each period for a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes.

Tim Kennedy gave the Sabres the lead just 2:12 into the game, converting a rebound as the Sabres scored first for the fourth time in as many games.

Sabres defenseman Steve Montador made it 2-0 at 6:59 of the second. With teammate Paul Gaustad screening Rask, Montador took a shot from the right point that hit Boston defenseman Dennis Wideman and went past Rask.

"That was a hard game, a hard game for both teams," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who was angered when a reporter suggested that his team "blew it." Ruff said nobody on his team "blew it" and cut short his press conference.

"Ultimately, I thought where we let down a bit was the three or four outnumbered rushes we had in the second period when the game was 2-0 and we didn't shoot the puck," he said. "I think we could have put the game away there."

"Both teams tried hard to win the game. The chances were there."

Shift of the game: Obviously, the shift that produced the winning goal. Buffalo had nearly killed off a bench minor for too many men when Michael Ryder carried up the right wing and passed to Miroslav Satan in the slot. Satan stepped to his right and then fired a shot between goalie Ryan Miller and defenseman Tyler Myers for the winner.

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