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Sabres beat Boston 4-2, end Bruins' win streak

by John Kreiser
Nothing is forever — in life or the NHL. That still didn't make it any easier for the Boston Bruins to deal with the end of their longest winning streak in a quarter-century.

The Buffalo Sabres ended Boston's 10-game winning streak and became the first visiting team to win at TD Banknorth Garden since late October by knocking off the Bruins 4-2 on Saturday. Recent call-up Matt Ellis scored twice for the Sabres, who've won two in a row on the road after a lackluster home loss to Washington on Tuesday.

"I guess all good things come to an end, and unfortunately it was finally ours," Boston coach Claude Julien said.

The 10-game streak was the Bruins' longest since March 1973, and the home loss was just their third of the season. They lost 2-1 in a shootout to Pittsburgh in their home opener and 4-2 to Toronto on Oct. 23.

"We were having a lot of fun on this 10-game stretch and we wanted to keep it going," said Boston center Marc Savard, who missed a pair of open nets in the first period — two of three glaring chances the Bruins failed to convert.

The Sabres are already playing as if a postseason berth is on the line.

"We played well. We (treated this) as a playoff game," forward Thomas Vanek said in the midst of a locker room that was unusually loud and jubilant for an early January victory. "Boston's right now one of the, if not the hottest teams. To come in their building and get two points is big for our hockey club right now. I think we slowed them down."

Ellis, recalled from Portland of the AHL on Dec. 8, spent the first six weeks with the club after being claimed on waivers, then was sent to the minors due to limited space on the roster. The Sabres are his third NHL team since the start of the 2007-08 season.

"I try to make the most of each day I spend in the National Hockey League," he said. "I definitely love it here. It's the best league in the world and I'm trying to do everything I can to stay."

Buffalo took a 1-0 lead 3:20 into the game when Ellis poked the puck into the net after Tim Thomas couldn't hold onto Henrik Tallinder's point shot. Vanek redirected Derek Roy's power-play shot past Thomas at 5:08 for his 26th goal of the season.

The stunned sellout crowd got back into the game when Phil Kessel one-timed Savard's cross-ice pass behind Ryan Miller at 10:46 for a power-play goal.

But Savard missed a chance to tie the game when he failed to lift the puck over a sprawled Miller into an empty net and misfired from the right side of an open net with 6 1/2 minutes to play, dribbling the puck into the crease.

Ellis lifted a rebound over Thomas for his second of the game — and just the fifth of his career — to make it 3-1 at 3:04 of the second.

Boston cut it to one on Shawn Thornton's goal at 9:51, but Paul Gaustad put Buffalo back on top by two just over three minutes later. Gaustad, positioned in front, redirected Andrej Sekera's shot and the puck caromed in off Boston defenseman Shane Hnidy's leg.

Miller made 29 saves and benefited from Boston's failure to hit a trio of open nets.

The Bruins, still tops in the East, were philosophical after the loss.

"We were pretty fortunate all year," Thornton said. "A lot of pucks had been going in the net. (Today) it wasn't."

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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