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Six in Sixth Win Over Boston

Sunday, 03.12.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Six in Sixth Win Over Boston
The Buffalo Sabres offense has been unstoppable as of late. Sunday night against the Boston Bruins, five different Sabres scored as Buffalo rolled to a 6-2 victory at HSBC Arena in front of the 14th sellout this season.

"They don't quit," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff of his squad. "It's not like they just wanted to ride this one out. It's not a case of trying to rub anything in, they just played hard until the end. I think if you are going to play a game, play it till the end."

"Every time you let up a little bit, bad things happen," said rookie Thomas Vanek. "We just wanted to keep on playing and get out of here with a win."

Vanek led all scorers with two goals and an assist, while Ales Kotalik and Maxim Afinogenov notched a goal and two assists each. Derek Roy added the first goal of the game.

"I think we are playing well and with confidence," said Vanek. "The last three or four games it was the (Daniel) Briere line and then (Tim) Connolly's line. Everyone chips in every night and I think it's good to see it's not from the same guys every night."

In the last three games, Buffalo has seen its offensive production skyrocket, as 12 different players have scored 20 goals. Ruff believes it's the unity of the players and the belief in each other that is driving the team's success.

"We're really trying to preach the team concept," said Ruff. "Playing as a team, we can be one of the toughest opponent's in the league and it can come from anywhere.

"I thought we were paid a nice compliment by Philadelphia's goaltender (Antero Niittymaki) yesterday. He said he really felt we had four number-one lines. I think that really sums up how our team plays. Not only do they play hard in their own end but also they play hard on the offensive end. On different nights, we have different guys winning the game for us. That's not an easy project to sell on a lot of teams and a lot of players. It's selfless play and thinking about the team that has really made us a strong unit."

Many of the Sabres players believe the only team that can beat Buffalo is themselves. Ruff tends to agree with that assessment.

"If we cough up the puck too many times or we turn it over in key areas ... those are the type of situations that you can beat yourself on," said Ruff. "You can let a team back in the game with those things, but for the most part, we don't. We play a high-risk game that allows a number of chances against, but when we need to nail a game down, we can do it."

Buffalo's impressive offense against the Bruins was accentuated by Martin Biron's play in net.. Biron held Boston at bay despite seeing his team outshot in every period. The Sabres netminder took his second victory against Boston during March after making 37 saves.

"Boston created quite a few opportunities," said Ruff. "Marty really played a strong second period for us and we took advantage of some really good scoring opportunities to jump on the lead."

Roy opened the scoring off a give-and-go with Thomas Vanek at 9:11 of the first. Skating down the right wing, Roy found Vanek at the left post, where the Austrian winger one-timed the feed back to the center for his 14th goal of the season on Buffalo's first power play of the game.

After being dragged to the ice from behind by Hal Gill on a breakaway, Maxim Afinogenov gave Buffalo a two-goal lead when he converted on the 40th penalty shot in franchise history. Alone on the ice with Bruins goaltender Andrew Raycroft, Afinogenov snapped a wristshot between the legs of the Bruins netminder for his 16th goal of the season at 14:20.

Vanek was the last Sabre to convert on a penalty shot when he beat Anaheim goaltender J-S Giguere in Buffalo's 3-2 overtime victory over the Mighty Ducks on Dec. 8.

Kotalik made the score 3-0 in favor of Buffalo just over eight minutes into the second period when he fired a rocket one-timer from the high slot five-hole on Raycroft for his 23rd goal of the season.

With a two man advantage, Connolly ripped a one-timer from the right point for his fifth power-play goal of the season and the fourth consecutive goal for Buffalo at 14:27.

Following a Buffalo turnover in the neutral, Andrew Alberts one-timed Glen Murray's feed topshelf for the Bruins first goal of the game and his first of the season at 14:56. The shorthanded goal was the 16th Buffalo has allowed this season.

Just 33 seconds into the third period, Marco Sturm finds Brad Boyes cutting to the net to cut Buffalo lead to a pair. Boyes' redirect of the pass barely crept between Birons legs and over the goal line.

Vanek redirected Ales Kotalik's slapshot from the left point for his first of the night at 4:05. The power-play goal was Buffalo third of the game and Vanek's 11th of the season.

With 1:35 remaining in regulation, Vanek drags the puck around Nick Boynton, deked Raycroft and slide the puck into the wide-open net for his 23rd goal of the season.

The victory marked the sixth time this season the Sabres have beaten the Bruins. The two team's final two meetings of the regular season scheduled for the end of March on the 25th and 29th.
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SCORING REPORTS
Scoresheet | Super Stats | Faceoff Comp | Play By Play | Shift Chart

GAME BLOG:
Period 1
1-0 (9:11): Derek Roy scored Buffalo's first goal of the game off a give-and-go with Thomas Vanek. Skating down the right wing, Roy found Vanek at the left post. Vanek one-timed Roy's feed back to the center for his 14th goal of the season on Buffalo's first power play. Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov get the helpers.

2-0 (14:20): After being pulled to the ice by Hal Gill on a breakaway, Maxim Afinogenov gave Buffalo a two-goal lead when he converted on the ensuing penalty shot. On the penalty shot, Afinogenov snapped a wristshot between the legs of the Bruins netminder for his 16th goal of the season.

Period 2
3-0 (8:26): Ales Kotalik fires a rocket one-timer from the high slot five-hole on Raycroft for his 23rd goal of the season. The goal extended Kotalik's scoring streak to four points (2+2) in as many games. Tim Connolly and Henrik Tallinder recorded the assists.

4-0 (14:27): With a two man advantage, Tim Connolly ripped a one-timer from the right point for his fifth power-play goal of the season. Maxim Afinogenov and Ales Kotalik record the helpers.

4-1 (14:56): Following a Buffalo turnover in the neutral, Andrew Albert's one-timed Glen Murray's feed topshelf for the Bruins first goal of the game and his first of the season. The shorthanded goal was the 16th Buffalo has allowed this season. Murray and Boynton registered the assists.

Period 3
4-2 (0:33): Marco Sturm finds Brad Boyes cutting to the net for Boston's second goal of the game. Boyes' redirect of the pass barely crept between Birons legs and over the goal line. The goal is Boyes 17th of the season. Sturm and Patrice Bergeron record the assists.

5-2 (4:05): Thomas Vanek redirects Ales Kotalik's slapshot from the left point for his 22nd goal of the season. The power-play goal was Buffalo third of the game and Vanek's 11th of the season. Kotalik recorded the primary assist, while Teppo Numminen gets the secondary.

6-2 (18:25): Thomas Vanek drags the puck around Nick Boynton, deked Raycroft and slide the puck into the wide-open net for his 23rd of the season and second of the night. Dmitri Kalinin gets the lone helper.

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