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Ryder, Chara rally Bruins past Sabres

by John McGourty
BUFFALO -- Michael Ryder and Zdeno Chara each scored his second goal of the game and Mark Recchi added an empty-netter as the Boston Bruins rallied for three goals in the third period and a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series on Saturday at HSBC Arena.

Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for the Bruins, whose victory ties the series, 1-1, with Game 3 Monday in Boston at 7 p.m. ET.

It was the first defeat this season when leading after two periods for the Sabres, who also lost Thomas Vanek to a lower-body injury. Counting their Game 1 win, they were 31-0-0 in such situations.


"We certainly addressed that and talked about the adjustments we needed to make to get ourselves back in the game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I don't think anybody was down and everybody understood the urgency of what this game meant to our hockey club, hopefully going back home with a split. In the third period, I thought our guys were determined to give it our best."

Ryder started and finished the play which led to the game-tying goal, carrying the puck up the left wing and firing a cross-ice pass to Blake Wheeler inside the Buffalo zone. Wheeler's return pass was tipped by Ference to Ryder, who beat Miller on his right side at 5:23.

"We were backchecking and they had a missed pass," Ryder said. "It came off the boards and I picked it up. It was a 4-on-2 and I saw 'Wheels' on the far side and I threw it across. I think he tried to hit Andy with a pass and missed him. It ended up on my stick. I tried to get a quick shot and I think Miller was out of place and it just went in.

The Bruins went up, 4-3, at 7:23 of the third when former Sabres forward Miroslav Satan passed from the left boards back to Chara at the point. His shot beat Miller through a screen thrown by David Krejci.

"We keep talking about our team going to the front of the net. I don't think they're thinking much different," Julien said. "They keep putting guys in front of Tuukka Rask. It's a series where there's a lot of respect for both goaltenders and if you want to beat those goaltenders, they can't stop what they can't see. We were definitely better at it today and we got the results."

The Sabres pulled Miller with 1:40 remaining but couldn't generate much offense. After Patrice Bergeron won a defensive-zone faceoff, Recchi rushed up the right side and scored an empty-net goal with 20 seconds remaining.

Rask made 26 saves, including several brilliant ones in the second half of the game. He said he was struggling in the first period.

"That was a battle, at least for me. The guys did a great job battling back and giving us an opportunity to win," Rask said. "Sometimes you let those goals in you want to have back but it's hockey and it happens. We bounced back and it was a good thing.

"When you get down, 2-0, and you're not feeling the best you can, you're not facing any shots, you have to keep your focus on the game and battle through it."

The Sabres jumped out to their first-period lead on goals by Tyler Myers and Matt Ellis. Myers' shot from the right point appeared to be deflected in front of a screened Rask at 2:55, and Ellis took a nice pass from Patrick Kaleta entering the offensive zone, split the defense on Rask's left and backhanded a shot to Rask's far side to double the lead at 12 minutes.

Just as they had done Thursday in Game 1's second period, Boston rallied to tie the game.

Ryder, in the crease, rebounded Vladimir Sobotka's 39-foot slot slap shot that hit Miller's shoulder and fell in the crease at 2:35 of the second period. That goal resulted from hard work by Ryder and Wheeler deep in the Buffalo zone.

Chara cheated down the left wing, took a pass from Boychuk and rifled a 22-footer at 9:54 of the second past Miller, who may have been distracted by Bergeron battling in his crease.

"Playoff time, you get a little extra excited to play and enthusiastic," Ryder said. "We knew today was a big game and we had to win after last game was a disappointment. Today, I think we came out a little flat and they caught us off guard. We had a good second period again and in the third period, we got three goals and took it to them."

But just as Buffalo scored Thursday to blunt the Bruins' second-period edge in play, Buffalo scored again at 16:41, to go up, 3-2, when Milan Lucic fanned on a hard-around below his goal line and Tyler Ennis fed Jason Pominville for a far-side shot past Rask at 16:41.

"(Jason's goal) definitely gave us a lift," Buffalo captain Craig Rivet said. "When we went into the third period -- obviously, we've had pretty good success -- tonight we gave up a few things. One was a tipped play and one was a 4-on-2. We can be better in some areas that are going to make us play better. Once guys sit back and reflect on the game tonight, we're going to realized we can be a better hockey team."

Shift of the game: Skating hard all game, rookie Tyler Ennis, the Sabres' first-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, pressured Boston's Milan Lucic into a second-period mistake behind the Bruins net. Lucic fanned on a hard-around and Ennis raced to the puck, making a short pass on Rask's right side to Jason Pominville, who fired it past Rask on the left side for the go-ahead goal that gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead at 16:41. It was an important goal because the Sabres had surrendered a 2-0 first-period lead.

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