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Undefeated Against Beantown

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Don't tell the Buffalo Sabres but the team has Boston's number. Scoring a pair of goals late in the second period, Buffalo came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat Boston 3-2 and remain undefeated against their division rivals in five meetings this season.

"We won five in a row against them?" said a surprised Jochen Hecht. "I know we've won two ... the last two. We've been playing really well the whole year and we just try to look game to game."

For the fourth time this season, the Sabres defeated Boston by a one-goal margin and for the second time in as many games, had to play from behind after giving up an early goal.

"Tonight, we had the better chances for most of the night," said Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere. "Maybe we didn't deserve that win in Boston on Sunday, but we wanted to come back here and show them we had the better skating team. We did that tonight."

"We a lot better defensively and were a lot sharper in our own zone," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff when asked the difference between the last two games. "We limited their opportunities and I thought we had better legs."

One game after notching a combined seven points against Boston, the line of Hecht, Briere and JP Dumont were Bruin killers again. The trio scored a goal and added three assists to account for four of Buffalo's nine points in the game. Hecht's backhander at 16:09 of the second proved to be the winner.

"We just know what each other can do and where we have to be," said Hecht. "We can read each other well, and I think it shows."

"It's something that came about in the first game I played here," said Briere of the three's chemistry. "They were the first linemates that Lindy put me with and right away there was a connection."

Briere recorded a pair of assists in the game, giving him 10 points in his last six games, while Dumont added the primary assist on the Sabres first goal of the night.

"As a line, they know where each other are without even looking," said Ruff. "They just have some natural chemistry that makes them a good line."

Boston broke the scoreless tie with a hopping puck that seemed to see its way through traffic. Attempting to snap a wristshot from the top of the left face-off circle, Brad Boyes' shot bounced twice, deflected of Patrice Bergeron's leg and kicked over the left pad of Miller, who never spotted the offering until it was in the back of the net.

Jason Pominville tied the game 1-1 three minutes later after taking dead-aim from the right faceoff circle. Stationed on the right point on the Sabres second power-play of the game, Pominville moved up ice as the puck floated into the far corner, received a feed from JP Dumont and snapped a blazing wristshot over the glove of Boston netminder Tim Thomas for his 15th goal of the season.

"(Pominville) has a shot like Kotalik's, a quick release and it's really hard," said Ruff. "At times, he can let it go with some of the best in the league."

Boston would gain the lead at 3:10 of the second after Milan Jurcina's wristshot from the right point found its way through traffic and into the back of the net.

With a four-on-three advantage, Thomas Vanek redirected Ales Kotalik's wristshot from the high slot between Thomas' legs to tie the game 2-2 at 11:37. The goal marked Vanek's 10th on the power-play and 20th of the season, making him the 11th Sabre to reach the double-dime plateau in his rookie campaign.

"I saw (the shot) coming," said Vanek. "I figured the goalie would slide over, so if I tipped it to the middle, it would go five-hole. Things just worked out."

Buffalo gained its first lead of the game on pure hustle. With Thomas out of the net to challenge Briere, Hecht beat Wayne Primeau in a footrace to the Sabres co-captain's rebound and flipped a backhander into a wide-open net for his 17th of the season.

Scoresheet | Super Stats | Faceoff Comp | Play By Play | Shift Chart

Period 1
0-1 (8:59): On just the Bruins third shot on goal, Patrice Bergeron tips Brad Boyes bouncing shot between his legs and over the right pad of Ryan Miller. The Sabres netminder was screened by both Bergeron and Sabres defenseman Jay McKee. The goal is Bergeron's 20th goal of the season. Boyes and Brian Leetch get the helpers.

1-1 (11:39): Rookie Jason Pominville received a feed from JP Dumont at the top of the right faceoff circle and snapped a blazing wristshot over the glove of Tim Thomas. The goal is Pominville's 15th of the season and ninth on the man advantage. Dumont gets the primary helper, while Daniel Briere gets the secondary.

Period 2
1-2 (3:10): Milan Jurcina snaps a wristshot from the right point through traffic and into the top right corner of the net. The goal is Jurcina's sixth of the season. David Tanabe and former Sabre Wayne Primeau get the helpers.

2-2 (11:37): With a four-on-three advantage, Thomas Vanek redirects Ales Kotalik's wristshot from the high slot between Tim Thomas' legs to tie the game. The marker is Vanek's 10th on the power-play and 20th of the season, making him the 11th Sabre to score 20 goals in his rookie campaign. Kotalik and Chris Drury register the assists.

3-2 (12:09): Jochen Hecht beat Wayne Primeau to Daniel Briere's rebound and backhanded the puck into the wide open net. Tim Thomas had come out of the crease to challenge Briere at the left post. The goal Hechts' 17th of the season. Briere and Brian Campbell get the helpers.

Period 3
No Scoring
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