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Sabres score three in third to defeat Bruins

by Chris Ryndak

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Boston Bruins have lost twice in regulation this season, both at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres.

Christian Ehrhoff scored the game-winning goal 9:02 into the third period Friday, and the Sabres defeated the Bruins, 4-2, at First Niagara Center.

Ehrhoff wristed a shot past Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin from the low slot after the play came out from behind the net. Bruins forward Rich Peverley couldn't knock the puck out of the zone and Ehrhoff capitalized on the failed clearing attempt.

The defenseman finished the night with a goal, an assist and a plus-3 rating.

"It was a lucky bounce we got there," Ehrhoff said. "I just got it on my tape and shot it right away. There's not much a goalie can do there."

The Sabres trailed 2-1 heading into the third period and were outshot 29-16 at that point. Their play in the second prompted the home fans to boo them off the ice when the horn sounded to end the period. Buffalo came out strong in the third to turn the tide.

"I think we got a couple good shifts early in the third period and it just rolled from there like a snowball effect," Ehrhoff said.

Sabres forward Drew Stafford opened the scoring with his first goal of the season and assisted on Ehrhoff's goal. Defenseman Tyler Myers scored in the third period to tie the game 2-2 and recorded an assist. Center Tyler Ennis had two assists for Buffalo.

The Sabres had lost their previous two games and were shut out against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. When the puck dropped Friday, the Sabres were in last place in the Eastern Conference. With the win, they are 6-8-1.

"I think we're always angry right now with the way the losses have been piling up. We needed a big one," Stafford said. "Being down, especially, it makes things that much sweeter for us to come back. It's a big character win for us against a team like that; it feels good because they're one of the best teams in the League."

Prior to the game, the Bruins had allowed five third-period goals all season. Four of those came against the Sabres in their first meeting of the season Jan. 31. The Bruins allowed three more Friday.

"We didn't look desperate. We looked kind of flat and it's unacceptable for this team," Peverley said. "We pride ourselves on being good in the third period, especially with the lead. We didn't play well enough."

Boston sits atop the Northeast Division at 8-2-2.

Cody Hodgson scored his sixth goal of the season for the Sabres 2:43 after Ehrhoff's goal to make it 4-2. Myers jumped into the play in from the blue line on the forecheck to Khudobin's right and threw the puck out from the corner. Hodgson knocked the puck in on Khudobin's short side.

Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored the first goal of his NHL career. Peverley scored his second of the season to give Boston a 2-1 lead in the second period.

Friday marked the third game between the teams this season and the second in a week. Buffalo defeated Boston, 7-4, on the road Jan. 31, and the Bruins came back to beat the Sabres in their match-up Sunday, 3-1, here.

Khudobin, in his second start against the Sabres, stopped 24 shots. Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made 29 saves and is 24-7-7 in his career against Boston.

Stafford put Buffalo up, 1-0, at 3:24 of the first period. Ennis picked up a turnover by Andrew Ference behind the Bruins net and threaded a pass in front to Stafford, who connected on a one-timer to beat Khudobin.

Stafford's previous goal came on March 31, 2012. He scored 20 in 80 games last season but had not found the back of the net again until Friday.

"That's something I've been working for and finally it's nice to get rewarded. I feel good," Stafford said. "Hopefully it'll open the floodgates."

Boston had several chances later in the first period to even the score. On one extended possession in the Buffalo zone, Milan Lucic hit the crossbar, and less than a minute later, Tyler Seguin had three chances in a 10-second span. He tipped one shot off the post, put one on Miller, and fired another shot just wide of the net.

Hamilton tied the game for the Bruins on the power play with 2:04 left in the first period.

With Miller out of position, Ehrhoff blocked a David Krejci shot from going into an empty net, but the puck bounced off Ehrhoff's shin guards and right back to Krejci's stick. He settled the puck and fed it to Hamilton in the slot to his left. The 19-year-old ripped a slap shot past Miller to make it 1-1.

Hamilton is the first Bruins defenseman to score a goal at the age of 19 since Jonathan Girard on Nov. 13, 1999.

Peverley gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead early in the second period off a strange bounce. At 2:29, Hamilton shot the puck into the Buffalo zone and it caromed off the end boards to Miller's left. The puck came back high in the air and over several players, including Sabres defenseman Robyn Regehr, Bruins forward Daniel Paille and Miller. It made its way to Peverley, who kept his eye on it and shot into the top of the net from 22 feet out.

The Bruins kept the pressure on in the second period, outshooting Buffalo, 17-6. Miller was mostly up to the task, including a big glove stop on Seguin off a rebound with 8:15 left in the period.

Myers tied the game 2:03 into the third period. He followed up on a rush by Nathan Gerbe and Jochen Hecht into the Bruins zone. Gerbe hit Hecht with a pass on the break and Khudobin kicked out his right pad to make the save. The rebound went right to Myers in the slot and he threw a backhand into the net for his second goal of the season.

"It's tough luck for us and we'll have to learn from this," Khudobin said.

On the shift following Buffalo's third goal, defenseman Andrej Sekera was hit by Boston forward Shawn Thornton in the corner to Miller's right. Sekera had to be helped off the ice and didn't put any pressure on his right leg as he went to the dressing room.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Sekera will "probably miss a little bit of time" with a charley horse.

Buffalo won for the first time without getting a point from Thomas Vanek or Jason Pominville since March 23, 2012.

"It's definitely a statement by us to be able to come back," Stafford said. "I think in the third period, we had by far the better team."

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