Petr Tenkrat scored the lone shootout goal and Tim Thomas stopped all eight shootout attempts in lifting the Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
It was a morale-building win considering how the Bruins responded after squandering a two-goal lead and after a bizarre finish to the second period, when it appeared Boston had escaped with a 3-2 edge.
All of that changed when a video review showed Buffalo’s Daniel Briere had scored with 53 seconds left in the frame. With the time put back on the clock, the Bruins were forced back on the ice after many of them had already undressed and were relaxing in their dressing room.
Lewis was happy how his team maintained its composure.
“We didn’t get rattled because some of our craziness in the second period,” Lewis said. “For us it’s really important. It was something we really needed.”
Boston, coming off a 4-1 loss at the New York Islanders on Thursday, improved to 1-1 in opening its road trip and has won five of seven overall. The Bruins (27-26-4) entered the night in 12th place in Eastern Conference – eight points out of playoff contention.
“Beating Buffalo is huge for our confidence, especially on this long trip,” said Boston’s Marc Savard, who had a goal and assist.
The Sabres (39-15-5) not only lost the game but were also were unable to avoid another injury. Forward Ales Kotalik will miss at least Buffalo’s next game – Tuesday against Philadelphia – after he limped off five minutes into the second period with what coach Lindy Ruff described only as a lower-body injury.
Buffalo is already down five regulars after Maxim Afinogenov, the team’s second-leading scorer, broke his left hand and Jiri Novotny twisted his left ankle in a 2-1 overtime win over Edmonton on Thursday.
“It’s tough,” said Ruff, who noted Kotalik will have further tests to determine the extent of his injury. “We’re looking at six guys out of the lineup. That’s a sizable amount.”
Chris Drury, with his career-high 31st, and Drew Stafford also scored for the Sabres who snapped a four-game win streak and also lost for the first time in seven home games.
Shean Donovan had a goal and an assist and Marco Sturm also scored for the Bruins, who won for the first time in seven trips to Buffalo.
Fittingly, after what happened to the Bruins at the end of the second period, it was a video review that sealed their victory.
Tenkrat, the Bruins’ eighth shooter, scored when his snap shot was initially stopped by Ryan Miller, but the puck had enough momentum to dribble in under the goalie. Officials initially ruled Miller had made the save, but the goal was allowed to stand after replays showed the puck going in.
For Tenkrat, the goal made up for a critical tripping penalty that led to one of the Sabres’ two power-play goals at the end of the second period.
“It was pretty bad for our team, they tied the game,” Tenkrat said. “But I think we played a pretty good game tonight and we were hungry for the win.”
The win was also meaningful to Savard. He was already in the box for slashing when he received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for complaining after Tenkrat was penalized for tripping.
The Sabres followed by scoring two power-play goals in a 47-second span to tie the score.
“I’m taking the guys out for dinner tomorrow night because I feel pretty bad about the situation,” Savard said. “It was something that I wish I had back, but we battled and we won.”
Notes: Stafford and fellow rookie LW Clarke MacArthur were in the lineup a day after being called up from AHL Rochester. … Boston was minus second-leading scorer, C Patrice Bergeron, who missed his second straight game with a lower body injury. … Savard extended his point streak to four games, in which he has a goal and four assists.