Bruins Fall to Sabres in Shootout to Cap a Wild 7-6 Loss in Buffalo

Bruins Fall to Sabres in Shootout to Cap a Wild 7-6 Loss in Buffalo Final, Sabres 7-6 (Buffalo wins shootout 3-2): The Bruins drop another shootout, as Buffalo scores on all three of its attempts.

Drew Stafford started it off with a forehand that beat Tim Thomas 5-hole, then Thomas Vanek scored on a slap shot and Tyler Ennis deked Thomas out of his skates with a series of moves, roofing it top shelf as Thomas flopped across the crease.

Michael Ryder scored on a wrister stick side on Ryan Miller and Tyler Seguin went back to his backhand move to score at the left post. but Zdeno Chara couldn't extend the shootout as he faked a slapper, then had Miller turn aside his wrister to clinch the victory.

The Bruins did extend their point streak to five games, including getting at least one point out of each of the first four games on this road trip. They'll close out the trip Monday in Toronto, where they'll look to get the full two points against the lowly Leafs.

End Overtime, 6-6: This one will have to be settled in the shootout as neither team is able to score in overtime.

Overtime, 4:10, 6-6: The Sabres with a chance in deep in the final minute of OT after Savard poke-checked the puck away from Seidenberg.

Overtime, 0:48, 6-6: Stafford nearly got his fourth of the night as he weaved through the Bruins defense and drove to the right post, but Thomas upended him with a diving save.

Overtime, 0:00, 6-6: The extra session is under way, with the teams skating four a side for five minutes to try to avoid the dreaded shootout.

Regulation, 6-6: The Bruins and Sabres will head to overtime, though Horton nearly ended it in regulation with a golden chance from the slot in the closing seconds.

Third Period, 19:32, 6-6: The Sabres tie it up as Drew Stafford records his second straight hat trick against the Bruins.

He flipped in a shot at the left post after a scramble in front.

Third Period, 19:12, Bruins 6-5: The Sabres use their timeout now looking to set up something in the final minute.

Third Period, 18:46, Bruins 6-5: The Sabres have pulled Miller for the extra attacker. Time for another Lucic empty-net goal?

Third Period, 17:40, Bruins 6-5: The Bruins use their timeout to regroup with a defensive zone faceoff coming up after a second straight icing. Big draw here for Boston.

Third Period, 15:00, Bruins 6-5: The Bruins have given up just two shots through three quarters of this third period after the Sabres had 30 in the first 40 minutes.

Third Period, 10:19, Bruins 6-5: The Bruins just missed adding another goal, but Horton missed the net from the slot after a nifty little give-and-go with Krejci.

Third Period, 9:14, Bruins 6-5: The Bruins are back to playing the way they have been since last week's emotional win over Atlanta.

They flipped a switch coming into the third period, outshooting Buffalo 10-1 and scoring a pair of goals.

Third Period, 7:06, Bruins 6-5: The Bruins are back in front again, as the rookies combine for a pretty goal as Steven Kampfer scores from Seguin.

Kamofer started the play with a long crossing pass to Seguin, then drove to the net, taking a return pass at the right post and shoveling it in.

Third Period, 3:42, 5-5: The Bruins now have a chance to retake the lead on the power play, as Drew Stafford goes off for slashing.

Third Period, 3:08, 5-5: Tyler Seguin gets on the board to end an 11-game drought as the Bruins tie it early in the third.

Paille feed it over to Seguin from the right boards, and the rookie one-timed it home from the slot.

Third Period, 2:07, Sabres 5-4: Ryder, now playing with Savard and Lucic, has a chance in front off a great feed by Savard, but loses control trying to get in close.

Third Period, 0:52, Sabres 5-4: Julien appears to have switched up the lines a bit in an effort to get something going. Horton is now skating with Krejci and Wheeler instead of Ryder.

Third Period, 0:00, Sabres 5-4: The final period is under way, and the Bruins are going to have to play a lot better than they have so far to pull this one out.

Second Intermission Notes: There weren't many positives to pull out of that period for the Bruins, starting with the questionable decision to pull Tuukka Rask after the first.

Rask looked a bit shaky, as would be expected after such a long layoff and with the defense not exactly shining in front of him. But unless there was an injury issue, pulling him is hard to justify.

The Bruins didn't play any better in front of Tim Thomas, who let up two goals on 14 shots as the Sabres had way too many odd-man rushes and golden scoring chances that's to some sloppy defensive play.

The Bruins also haven't had anything close to resembling a physical presence in this one, as they've been outhit 16-6 so far. Boston had just two hits in the second period.

End Second Period, Sabres 5-4: The middle frame comes to a merciful end for the Bruins, but not before the Sabres took the lead with the only two goals in the second period.

Second Period, 17:43, Sabres 5-4: The Sabres take the lead as Jason Pominville, playing the point on the power play, tees up a blast from the blue line that deflects off Dennis Sedenberg's skate in front and past Thomas.

Second Period, 17:12, 4-4: The Sabres go back on the power play as Boychuk is called for tripping up Vanek beside the Bruins net.

Second Period, 14:40, 4-4: Stafford with another chance in front, but his shot is deflected out of play. Finally a Stafford shot that doesn't go in the net against Boston, as he has five of his 12 goals this year in the last two games against the Bruins.

Second Period, 13:20, 4-4: Near disaster for the Bruins as Ryder's pass behind the net instead hits the side of the cage, giving the Sabres a chance in front, but the Bruins recover to prevent any damage.

Second Period, 12:45, 4-4: The Bruins looking to get the offense revved up again, with Lucic getting a chance from the high slot.

Second Period, 9:56, 4-4: The Sabres have taken control of the momentum in this game in the second. after Dennis Seidenberg was wiped out on a big hit by Mike Weber, Jason Pominville broke in alone, but Thomas was able to make the save and also snuff out the rebound.

Second Period, 6:17, 4-4: The Sabres pull even just after getting back to even strength, as Drew Stafford beats Thomas from the right side.

Stafford fired it inside the near post as Mike Grier drove to the net on the left side in a 2-on-1.

Second Period, 6:03, Bruins 4-3: The Bruins can't convert on the man-advantage, with Buffalo actually having the best scoring chance as Thomas had to stop a Connolly shot on a shorthanded 2-on-1.

Second Period, 4:03, Bruins 4-3: The Bruins get a chance of their own on the power play, as Drew Stafford is sent off for hooking Nathan Horton.

Second Period, 2:22, Bruins 4-3: The Bruins kill off that penalty as the clubs are back at even strength.

Second Period, 0:22, Bruins 4-3: Thomas will get a quick test, as the Sabres go on the power play with Mark Recchi off for hooking.

Thomas already took the worst of that, as Recchi's hook sent Paul Gaustad crashing into the netminder.

Second Period, 0:00, Bruins 4-3: The second period is under way, will this one be as eventful as the first?

Tim Thomas is now in goal for the Bruins. Unsure if it an injury issue for Rask or strictly a performance issue. If the latter, that's a questionable decision considering the poor defensive play in front of him and his extended layoff.

First Intermission Notes: That was one of the more wide open and wild periods the Bruins have played this year.

How wide open? The Bruins have as many goals as hits, as Buffalo held a 10-4 edge in hits in the first. Buffalo also outshot Boston 16-11, as Tuukka Rask is getting a workout in his first game since Dec. 15.

The Bruins haven't got many goals from defensemen this year, but they have been activating their defense more of late. That paid off in this one as three of their four goals in the first came from blueliners, and the fourth was a tip of a Johnny Boychuk shot.

The Bruins are just 14-15 on faceoffs (48 percent), but two offensive zone faceoff wins led directly to goals, highlighting the importance of that aspect of the game.

End First Period, Bruins 4-3: A wild first period comes to a close, as the Bruins and Sabres combine for seven goals in the first 20 minutes.

The Bruins got four of those goals for a 4-3 lead heading into the first intermission, but Buffalo's goal in the final minute could give the Sabres the momentum to start the second.

First Period, 19:39, Bruins 4-3: And the goals keep coming, with Buffalo cutting the lead to one again as Drew Stafford fires a bad angle shot into Rask, then jams the rebound free of Rask's glove and over the line at the right post.

Rask argues he had control of the puck and the play should have been blown dead, but to no avail.

First Period, 18:35, Bruins 4-2: Some bad news for the Bruins, as Boychuk heads to the locker room in obvious pain.

First Period, 16:01, Bruins 4-2: The Bruins kill off the rest of Savard's penalty after extending their lead with Chara's shorthanded goal.

First Period, 14:15, Bruins 4-2: The Bruins strike back shorthanded, as Patrice Bergeron leads the breakout and finds Zdeno Chara joining the rush, with the captain burying the chance from the slot to reestablish the two-goal lead.

First Period, 14:01, Bruins 3-2: The Sabres go on the power play with a chance to tie it as Savard is sent off for slashing.

First Period, 13:45, Bruins 3-2: The Sabres cut it to one, as Thomas Vanek and Andrew Ference get tangled up in the Bruins zone.

Ference goes down, but no penalty is called. Vanek and Connolly then work a give-and-go, with Vanek tucking in a backhander.

First Period, 13:21, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins nearly strike again as Shawn Thornton sends Tyler Seguin in alone with a dish from the right boards. Seguin was alone in the slot, but Miller came up with the save to keep it a two-goal game.

First Period, 10:56, Bruins 3-1: The gloves are off, with Adam McQuaid and Cody McCormick duking it out.

It was a bit of an awkward fight with McQuaid getting twisted around and neither player able to land too much. McCormick went down first and McQuaid could have unloaded on him but abided by the code and held up.

First Period, 10:30, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins kill off the penalty, with Chara and Boychuk each making nice plays in front to eliminate threats.

First Period, 8:30, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins get the first penalty on the night as Blake Wheeler is sent off for delay of game after flipping the puck over the glass.

First Period, 5:36, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins continue to pour it on, as Brad Marchand picks up a goal with a perfect tip in front on a point shot by Boychuk after another offensive zone faceoff win, this time by Patrice Bergeron.

First Period, 2:49, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins have their own answer 43 seconds after Buffalo's goal, as Dennis Seidenberg continues this wild start as he fires it a shot from the left boards that sneaks past Miller.

First Period, 2:06, 1-1: That lead didn't last long, as Jason Pominville answers 37 seconds after Ference's goal to tie it up.

First Period, 1:29, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins strike first early, as Marc Savard wins an offensive zone faceoff back to Adam McQuaid, who flips it to Andrew Ference for a one-timer with Nathan Horton providing the screen in front.

First Period, 0:28, 0-0: The Bruins get an early chance as Johnny Boychuk tees up a one-timer from the right side off a feed from Marchand, but can't get it past Miller.

First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And this one is finally under way, with the Bruins looking to extend their point-streak to five games as they continue their road trip in Buffalo.

7:10 p.m.: Still waiting for the start of this one, which should get under way about 7:25 after an on-ice ceremony honoring hall of fame writer Jim Kelley and Alexander Mogilny, who are being inducted to the Sabres Hall of Fame.

7 p.m.: The Bruins will open this one with their new line of Marchand, Bergeron and Recchi up front, Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference on defense and Rask in goal.

Buffalo counters with Ryan Miller in goal, Myers and Andrej Sekera on the blue line and Thomas Vanek, Tim Connolly and Jason Pominville up front.

6:40 p.m.: It appears the Sabres will go with seven defensemen in this one, as Nathan Gerbe is among the scratches.

He joins Patrick Kaleta (upper body) and Chris Butler in sitting this one out. With Tyler Myers returning after missing two games with the flu, the Sabres may want the extra blueliner in case he's not up to a full workload.

Greg Campbell (illness) and Mark Stuart (hand) are out for Boston as expected.

6:15 p.m.: Greg Campbell is officially out for this one, Claude Julien informed reporters before the game.

That means the Bruins will likely stick with the lines used against Atlanta on Thursday, with Brad marchand moving up alongside Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi and Tyler Seguin moving down to center the fourth line between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton.

The other lines – Marc Savard between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton and David Krejci flanked by Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder – will remain intact.

6 p.m.: The Bruins stay on the road but return to the Northeast Division with a showdown with the Sabres on Saturday.

Tuukka Rask will finally be back in net for the Bruins, his first start since the last time the Bruins were in Buffalo back on Dec. 15.

Rask will have to shake off the rust after Tim Thomas started each of the last seven games, and the Bruins will need to play better in front of him than they have so far this year for Boston to extend its four-game point streak.

Greg Campbell is expected to miss his second game in a row with an illness, while the Sabres will get defenseman Tyler Myers back from the flu and center Tim Connolly back from a broken nose.

8 a.m.: The Bruins will be playing on New Year's Day again this season, but this time it will be in a more traditional indoor venue in Buffalo.

While the Penguins and Capitals hope the rain holds off long enough to play this year's Winter Classic in Pittsburgh, two past participants in the outdoor showcase will clash in Buffalo as the Bruins take on the Sabres.

Boston has taken five of a possible six points so far on its five game road trip, though setting for one in a 3-2 shootout loss in Atlanta on Thursday was a bit frustrating. The Bruins probably deserved a better fate for their effort in that one, and they will need a similar performance to get two points out of Buffalo.

The Sabres are coming off a 4-2 win in Edmonton on Tuesday, but that was just their second victory in six games since beating Boston 3-2 back on Dec. 15. The Sabres won't have any sympathy for the road-weary Bruins either, as Buffalo just returned from a trip out West to face the Flames and Oilers, and after this game, they head back to the West Coast for games at Colorado, San Jose and Phoenix next week. That schedule was necessary because Buffalo is hosting the World Junior Championships.

The game was initially scheduled for 5 p.m. when the NHL schedule was first released, but it will be a 7 p.m. puck drop in Buffalo, so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.

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