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Sabres edge slumping Bruins 2-1

by John Kreiser

Even with Marc Savard back in the lineup, the Boston Bruins still couldn't get enough offense -- not with Ryan Miller in the Buffalo net.

Miller made first-period goals by Henrik Tallinder and Thomas Vanek stand up by stopping 30 Boston shots as the Sabres edged the Bruins 2-1 on Friday night.

The Bruins got Savard, their No. 1 center, back after he missed eight games with a sprained right knee. Savard assisted on Milan Lucic's goal midway through the second period, but that was all the scoring the Bruins managed against Miller as the Sabres won their second home game in a row after a 2-3-2 trip.

"I thought after the first period, we really played a smart game," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Even in the third period, with a team in our building that was well-rested, we played a smart game. Coming off the road and winning two games -- I don’t think you can say enough about the effort we got."

Miller stopped all 12 Boston shots in the third period as the Northeast Division leaders improved to 32-14-7. He praised his teammates for giving him a lot of help.

"There weren't many odd-man rushes, and the one 2-on-1 in the second period got broken up," he said. "We’ve done a good job at home not trying to put on a big show for the fans. We've stuck to the system, and we did it tonight."

The Bruins, who finished first in the Eastern Conference last season, lost their sixth in a row -- their longest winless drought since December 2007 -- and are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games.

"We're better," coach Claude Julien said. "Unfortunately, right now we're looking at the end results as something really important, and it wasn't there again tonight. (It was) disappointing, but our overall game was a lot better than it has been lately. Hopefully it gets a little better tomorrow (at home against Los Angeles) and we don't dig ourselves a hole like we did tonight."

But after accumulating 116 points last season, the Bruins are on pace for just 85 with 29 games to go.

"We need to pick it up and turn this around as quickly as we can," Lucic said. "We made some strides in the right direction. We just have to keep going and stay positive."

The Sabres opened the scoring 4:01 into the game when Tallinder snapped in his third goal of the season, a drive from the top of the left circle that beat Tuukka Rask. It came on the Sabres' first shot on goal.

Vanek made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 17:32. It was his team-leading 16th goal of the season.

Lucic made it 2-1 when he beat Miller with a wrist shot from the slot off an assist from Savard. Julien reunited the twosome and added winger Miroslav Satan in hopes of jump-starting his team's attack.

"It's one game, and they weren't bad," Julien said. "They created some stuff. But creating stuff is one thing -- we need to finish. With the chances we created tonight, we should have had more than that. Give their goaltender credit again for playing well and standing on his head."

Despite their third-period push, Lucic's goal was all the offense the Bruins got.

"We knew they were desperate," Ruff said. "We read all the articles about all the battle drills they've been doing in practice. I thought we were smart. Our discipline was excellent and we really paid attention to detail."

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

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