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Boston at Buffalo

Stafford's hat trick pushes Sabres past Bruins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Drew Stafford's hat trick provided all the offense the Buffalo Sabres needed.

Stafford scored three goals for his third hat trick, and the Sabres beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Wednesday night.

It was the second time this month that Stafford came back from an injury and was a big part of a Sabres victory. He missed 11 games because of a shoulder injury sustained on Nov. 5 against Montreal before netting a goal and assist in a victory against Columbus on Dec. 3.

He aggravated the injury in that game and sat out the next four games. Upon his return Wednesday, Stafford helped the Sabres snap a three-game losing streak to their division rival.

"I think I'm going to take another two weeks off, and come back and get a couple points and hopefully win," joked Stafford, whose two other hat tricks came in blowout Buffalo victories. "You're hungry to get back. Unfortunately I got hurt, but I'm hoping those days are behind me and I can finish out the rest of the year healthy."

Stafford completed his hat trick with 9:05 left to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead. In the left circle, he swatted in Roy's pass from the slot on the power play.

"He's a skilled player that you're hoping to get offense from," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It gives us that extra dimension. He's strong, and has a great shot. I said coming out of training camp I think he was our best player."

Stafford wasn't the only one to return. Tim Connolly (groin) and Rob Niedermayer (knee surgery) both came back after missing eight games.

Derek Roy assisted on all of Stafford's goals, and Ryan Miller made 32 saves for the Sabres, who rebounded from a 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.

"We know we're a good team and we can win games," said Miller, who made his eighth consecutive start after missing two because of groin soreness. "It's up to us to stay patient. I thought we had a great presence."

Miller is 5-2-1 since rejoining the lineup.

David Krejci and Michael Ryder scored, and backup goalie Tuukka Rask finished with 32 saves for Boston, which has lost two straight.

"We knew they were going to play us hard," Ryder said. "It was a grind right until the end."

Rask made his second start in seven games in relief of Tim Thomas, who will likely start on Thursday at Montreal.

The Sabres scored twice on the power play against the NHL's third-ranked penalty-killing unit.

"Our penalty kill has got to be better," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "It was not on top of its game. We gave them the shots and the looks they wanted, and we didn't react very well."

Ryder gave the Bruins a short-lived 2-1 advantage with his ninth of the season on the power play at 6:21 of the third. After picking up the puck in the neutral zone, he split Steve Montador and Jochen Hecht, deked Miller, and slid in a shot.

But Stafford tied it 32 seconds later with his second of the game. Krejci opened the scoring with his fifth of the season with 2:31 left in the first period.

Stafford tied it with a power-play goal with 79 seconds remaining in the first.

Notes

  • It was the 10th game this season that Boston had surrendered a power-play goal, and the third time they Bruins allowed more than one.
  • Boston rookie C Tyler Seguin missed the game because of the flu.
  • Buffalo D Shaone Morrisonn missed his fourth game because of a concussion.
  • Boston RW Mark Recchi played in his 1,600th game, becoming the ninth NHL player to reach the milestone.
  • The Bruins are 6-3 in their past nine against the Sabres.
  • The Bruins are in the midst of an eight-game stretch in which they will play only two road games.
  • The Sabres are 10-3-2 against backup goalies and 3-11-2 in games in which they faced the starter. Two of those victories came in shootouts.
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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Buffalo teammates and fans show their appreciation for Drew Stafford after his third goal.  (Getty Images)
Buffalo teammates and fans show their appreciation for Drew Stafford after his third goal. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Boston (16-9-4)1012
Buffalo  (13-14-4) «1023
Three Stars
D. Stafford
BUF


Goals: 3
Assist(s): 0
D. Roy
BUF


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3
T. Ennis
BUF


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
17:29 - David Krejci (5), Tip-In. Assist: Seidenberg
18:41Power Play - Drew Stafford (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Roy, Myers
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
06:21Power Play - Michael Ryder (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kampfer
06:53 - Drew Stafford (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Roy
10:55Power Play - Drew Stafford (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Roy, Pominville
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
12:43Ference, 2 min, Roughing
13:35Stafford, 2 min, Slashing
17:49Lucic, 2 min, Boarding
2ND PERIOD
07:59Hecht, 2 min, Hooking
09:10Myers, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
16:16Bergeron, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
01:28Connolly, 2 min, Tripping
05:04Weber, 2 min, Tripping
10:43Thornton, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
18:22Lucic, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
20:00Chara, 2 min, Roughing
20:00Chara, 2 min, Roughing
20:00Savard, 2 min, Roughing
20:00Gaustad, 2 min, Roughing
20:00McCormick, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
 123T
BOS1412834
BUF189835
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Tuukka Rask58:43323
Ryan Miller59:48322
Game Information
Attendance - 18197
Referees - Dan O'Rourke, Brian Pochmara
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Scott Cherrey
 
Other Games
Ana 2 Final
OT
Wash 1
NYR 4 Final
Pitt 1
Pho 0 Final
NJ 3
StL 2 Final
Det 5
Atl 1 Final
TB 2
Car 4 Final
Fla 3
Phi 5 Final
Mon 3
SJ 2 Final
Nash 3
Colo 4 Final
Chi 3
Colu 2 Final
OT
Van 3