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Bruins extend win streak to 10 games with shootout victory over Sabres

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Milan Lucic answered the call, and the Boston Bruins picked up yet another win.

In the first meeting between Boston and the Buffalo Sabres since Lucic bowled over Sabres goalie Ryan Miller 11 days ago, Lucic engaged in a fight with Paul Gaustad just 83 seconds in.

Benoit Pouliot scored the deciding goal in the fifth round of the shootout, and the Bruins rallied from a two-goal deficit for their 10th straight win, a 4-3 victory over Buffalo on Wednesday night.

It is the Bruins' first 10-game winning streak since Dec. 12, 2008, to Jan. 1, 2009.

The Sabres didn't go after Lucic when he steamrolled Miller—who sustained a concussion on the play and is still sidelined—but Gaustad and Lucic didn't take long to square off, with Lucic landing several rights to Gaustad's head and body.

"I still to this day still say it was a collision (with Miller), but when you do something like that you always prepare to step up and fight for yourself," Lucic said.

"There wasn't much of a conversation, it was just straight to the point. It was actually probably good on both ends just to get it out of the way off the start, then just move on."

With a faceoff in the right circle in the Boston end, Lucic skated onto the ice for the first time to stand next to the inner hash mark. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff delayed putting a forward line out there for several seconds before eventually sending Gaustad out.

A normal centre, Gaustad lined up as a winger right next to Lucic, and they both dropped their gloves and took off their helmets immediately after the puck was dropped.

"It was an unfortunate incident in Boston, and I give credit to Milan for fighting," Gaustad said. "It's something where guys don't have to, and he did. I wanted to step up after I thought I could have done more in the (earlier) Boston game."

The game had plenty of buildup after the Lucic-Miller incident, and there was a charged-up and playoff-type atmosphere in the sellout crowd.

The two teams didn't disappoint, especially in the first period when they combined for 36 penalty minutes and 28 shots on goal.

With 8:27 to go in the first, Gaustad was involved in a scrum that started in the right corner in the Bruins zone when Boston's Brad Marchand originally hit Nathan Gerbe along the boards.

Gaustad moved in and shoved Marchand before Adam McQuaid began cross-checking Gaustad to the ice. All 10 players joined in the pile, with Boston captain Zdeno Chara and Buffalo defenceman Robyn Regehr ultimately drifting away to fight.

McQuaid was given a double-minor, and Buffalo's Christian Ehrhoff cashed in with a slap shot from the right point to stake the Sabres to a 1-0 lead at 11:56 of the first.

The goal snapped Tim Thomas' road shutout run at 234:05, and his overall shutout streak was stopped at 145 minutes.

With 84 seconds left in the second period, Buffalo's Drew Stafford bumped into Thomas. Boston defenceman Andrew Ference immediately grabbed Stafford and the two began to wrestle.

"That meant a lot to me," said Thomas, who finished with 31 saves.

"We don't discuss it hardly at all," Thomas said of the streak. "I don't think about it at all until I'm reminded of it."

Tyler Seguin had a goal and assist, and Marchand and Chara both scored for Boston (13-7-0), which trailed 2-0 and 3-1.

"We just needed to take a few deep inhales and exhales and needed to calm down," Chara said. "Going into the third we played our game."

T.J. Brennan scored his first NHL goal in his first game, and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres (12-8-1), who lost their second straight.

Jhonas Enroth finished with 36 saves in making his fifth straight start since Miller was injured.

"I was happy with how we played," Ruff said. "We worked hard, and we answered every call."

Chara tied the game at 3-3 3:35 into the third period with a power-play goal before Pouliot's wrist shot beat Enroth to give the Bruins the extra point.

"I was happy not to miss it," Pouliot said. "Everyone was shooting low, so I shothigh and it went in."

Down by a pair of goals after the first period, the Bruins cut the lead in half when Seguin one-timed a shot in from the left point on the power play to make it 2-1 just 3 1/2 minutes into the second.

Brennan pushed the Sabres edge to 3-1 with just under nine minutes left in the second period, whipping a shot in from the right circle.

Marchand made it 3-2 with four minutes remaining in the middle period, lifting a wrist shot in from a tight angle to the left of Enroth.

Vanek upped Buffalo's lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal with 4:38 left in the first, wristing a shot from the slot past Thomas.

NOTES: Sabres C Jochen Hecht played in his first game of the season after missing the first 20 with a concussion. He replaced RW Patrick Kaleta in the lineup. ... Buffalo RW Brad Boyes left with under four minutes remaining in the first period and didn't return after Boston defenceman Dennis Seidenberg fell into and rolled over Boyes' right leg, causing Boyes' knee to buckle. He's expected to miss some time according to Ruff. ... The Sabres played their first game without D Tyler Myers, who is out for at least a month with a broken wrist. ... Boston's overall shutout run produced by Thomas and Tuukka Rask was snapped at 174:07. ... Seguin scored his 12th goal of the season, surpassing the 11 he scored last season as a rookie. ... Former Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek watched the game from a private suite.


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