Bergeron lifts Bruins past Sabres 2-1 in Game 3
BOSTON—Patrice Bergeron scored the go-ahead goal with just over 6 minutes left to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win on Monday night and a 2-1 lead over the Buffalo Sabres in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
Mark Recchi bumped Tim Kennedy off the puck in the right corner behind the Buffalo net and fed it to Bergeron, whose quick shot from the right circle beat Ryan Miller.
The sixth-seeded Bruins are home again for Game 4 on Wednesday night.
Mike Grier had given third-seeded Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 6:57 of the first period before Dennis Wideman tied the game less than 9 minutes later.
Miller, the starting goalie for the United States silver-medal team at the Winter Olympics, preserved the tie at 3:12 of the third period with a sprawling glove save on a shot by Michael Ryder from the lower edge of the left circle.
The Sabres couldn't make up for the loss of Thomas Vanek, their top goal scorer. He missed the game after leaving Game 2 on Saturday, a 5-3 win by the Bruins, in the first period with a lower body injury. Vanek had trouble putting weight on his left foot then hobbled to the Sabres bench and fell to his knees as he tried to get through the gate.
The Bruins continued their resurgence at home with their third straight win. After beating Philadelphia 2-1 in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park on New Year's Day, they lost 10 straight games at TD Garden, their regular home.
Monday's game was well played with speedy skating by both teams and excellent defensive play by the forwards.
Grier got the game's first goal with a quick shot from the left circle. The Sabres brought the puck up the left side of the ice with Raffi Torres getting it at the left point. He passed it to Grier, who scored his first goal of this year's playoffs with a shot to goalie Tuukka Rask's left side.
Boston tied it at 15:17 of the period on Wideman's first career playoff goal on a 40-foot shot from right in front of Miller. Wideman skated straight up ice without the puck from his own end. Vladimir Sobotka fed him a drop pass from the right circle and Wideman slapped the puck to the right of Miller's stick.
Sabres left wing Matt Ellis was leveled at his blue line by Johnny Boychuk with 5:40 gone in the second period. Ellis was carrying the puck when the collision occurred. He got up and skated slowly, with his stick left behind on the ice, to the bench and continued to the locker room but returned to the game.
NOTEs: Buffalo's Drew Stafford played for the first time since suffering a concussion April 10. ... Marc Savard, the Bruins' top playmaker, skated Monday morning for the first time since sustaining a Grade 2 concussion on March 7 on a blindside hit by Matt Cooke of Pittsburgh. He said he feels "normal." He will be cleared to play if he passes a neuropsych test Tuesday but will have to get back in game shape, the club said. ... Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vt., who got the first gold medal for the United States at the Vancouver Olympics by winning the women's moguls, attended the game. ... Boston won its second straight playoff game against Buffalo after losing seven in a row.