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Boston at Buffalo

Miller helps Sabres top Bruins, losers of six straight games

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ryan Miller and Buffalo Sabres spoiled Marc Savard's return to the reeling Boston Bruins.

Despite getting Savard back from a knee injury that forced him to miss the past eight games, Boston continued its slide Friday night, falling 2-1 to the Sabres.

Miller made 30 saves to send the Bruins (23-21-8) to their sixth consecutive loss -- their worst winless drought since December 2007 -- and ninth defeat in their past 10 games (1-8-1).

"We were better, but unfortunately we're looking at the end results, and it wasn't there," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "If we're going to start winning hockey games, we can't dig ourselves a hole every night and try to get out of it. But our whole game was much better than it has been."

That may be debatable, according to Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder.

"They used to come harder," he said. "They've been struggling a little bit lately so that could be it, too."

After accumulating 116 points last season, the Bruins are on pace for just 85 with 29 games to go.

"We need to pick it up and turn this around as quickly as we can," said Milan Lucic, who scored Boston's lone goal. "We made some strides in the right direction. We just have to keep going and stay positive."

Savard, who led the team in scoring the past three years, provided a boost that Lucic believes could be critical in Boston's playoff push.

"He's a big part of this team," Lucic said. "We need him around here and we need him to do his part."

Miller is certainly doing his part for the Sabres. The likely starter for the United States in the Olympics surrendered just one goal for the second consecutive game, and helped preserve the win with a solid third period when Boston outshot Buffalo 12-5.

"We did a good job," he said. "We stuck to the system, and two goals did it. For the most part this league is all about grinding it out and getting to the third period in a tight game and trying to hold on."

Tallinder and Thomas Vanek scored for the Sabres (32-14-7), who've won two straight after a disappointing 2-3-2 trip.

"It's big for us to come home and get four big points," Vanek said. "The last two years we learned that we lost a lot of games in the last 20 minutes and it cost us the playoffs. We put a lot of emphasis on that in training camp and we're doing a good job so far."

The Sabres tightened up over the final 75 seconds of regulation by not allowing a shot while the Bruins had the extra attacker.

Tuukka Rask made 21 saves for Boston.

The Sabres struck first when Tallinder snapped in his third goal from the top of the left circle four minutes into the first period on Buffalo's first shot.

Vanek made it 2-0 with a power-play goal with 2:28 to go in the first. It was his team-leading 16th goal of the season.

Lucic cut it to 2-1 midway through the second period when his wrist shot from the slot eluded Miller.

Notes

  • Bruins LW Marco Sturm missed his sixth game because of a leg injury.
  • Two of Lucic's three goals this season have come in Buffalo.
  • Buffalo C Tim Connolly assisted on Vanek's goal, giving him points in 17 of his last 18 games.
  • Miller is 11-1-3 in 15 home meetings with the Bruins.
  • Derek Roy was called for Buffalo's first penalty with just under nine minutes to go in regulation.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ryan Miller makes an effort through the snow shower to stop Byron Bitz from scoring. (Getty Images)
Ryan Miller makes an effort through the snow shower to stop Byron Bitz from scoring. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Boston (23-21-8)0101
Buffalo  (32-14-7) «2002
Three Stars
R. Miller
BUF


Saves: 30
Save Pct.: .968
T. Vanek
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
M. Savard
BOS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:01Henrik Tallinder (3), Snap Shot. Assist: Myers, Gaustad
17:32Power Play - Thomas Vanek (16), Backhand Shot. Assist: Butler, Connolly
2ND PERIOD
10:03Milan Lucic (3), Snap Shot. Assist: Savard, Chara
3RD PERIOD
None
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:47Thornton, 2 min, Roughing
13:26Sobotka, 2 min, Interference
16:29Savard, 2 min, High-Sticking
2ND PERIOD
12:18Krejci, 2 min, High-Sticking
3RD PERIOD
11:04Roy, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
 123T
Boston1361231
Buffalo108523
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Tuukka Rask58:46212
Ryan Miller59:59301
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Attendance - 18690
Referees - Kevin Pollock, Dennis LaRue
Linesmen - Pierre Champoux, Bryan Pancich
 
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