Stafford, former UMaine standout spark Sabres past Bruins

Posted Dec. 19, 2013, at 10:42 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 19, 2013, at 11:03 p.m.
Buffalo Sabres right wing Brian Flynn (65) celebrates his first-period goal against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center in Buffalo Thursday night. Flynn is a former University of Maine standout.
Timothy T. Ludwig | USA Today Sports
Buffalo Sabres right wing Brian Flynn (65) celebrates his first-period goal against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center in Buffalo Thursday night. Flynn is a former University of Maine standout.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Right winger Drew Stafford scored his first goal since early November to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

Stafford scored the game-winning goal on a wraparound with 5:41 remaining. It was his third goal of the season and his first since Nov. 5.

Defenseman Tyler Myers gave the Sabres some insurance 1:19 later on his third goal of the season. Center Brian Flynn led Buffalo on a three-on-one rush up ice and waited patiently for Myers, the trailer, who put a wrist shot past Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson on his blocker side.

Flynn, a former University of Maine standout, and left winger Marcus Foligno also scored for the Sabres (9-23-3). Goalie Ryan Miller made 34 saves.

Left winger Brad Marchand scored both of Boston’s goals. Johnson recorded 19 saves for the Bruins (23-10-2).

Penalties dominated the first period, but it was a short-handed goal that got Buffalo on the board first. Flynn gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead with 3:33 left in the first period on a shorthanded breakaway. Flynn roofed a backhand shot past Johnson for his third goal of the season.

Boston answered with a short-handed goal of its own 1:50 into the second period. Marchand finished a two-on-one rush with a wrist shot through Miller’s legs for his sixth goal of the season.

Marchand added another goal just 1:04 later to put Boston up 2-1. This time, he roofed a shot into the top left corner of the net.

Buffalo tied it at 2 with 2:49 to go in the second period on Foligno’s fifth goal of the season. Defenseman Jamie McBain’s shot was going wide, but hit Foligno and the power forward put home the easy rebound for his second goal in as many games. Prior to Tuesday, Foligno had no points in 12 games.

NOTES: During the game, the Sabres announced that they acquired RW Linus Omark from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick. Omark had 14 goals and 15 assists in 29 games for AHL Oklahoma City this season. … LW Daniel Paille (concussion) and LW Shawn Thornton (suspension) were scratched for the Bruins. … D Chad Ruhwedel and LW John Scott were scratched for the Sabres. Leading up to the game, the Sabres considered playing Scott, their enforcer, on defense. … C Matt Ellis played his 200th game in a Sabres uniform. The veteran recently returned to Buffalo after starting the season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. … The teams met for the second of five times this season. They play again Saturday in Boston.

Penguins 5, Wild 2

Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta had a goal and two assists for his first career three-point game as host Pittsburgh won its sixth straight contest.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen scored and added an assist while Pascal Dupuis, Brandon Sutter and Chris Kunitz also scored for the Penguins, who extended their Metropolitan Division lead to 14 points. Rookie goaltender Jeff Zatkoff made 24 saves and captain Sidney Crosby added a pair of assists to extend his point streak to nine games.

Jason Pominville and Dany Heatley replied for Minnesota, which lost for the first time in seven trips to Pittsburgh. Niklas Backstrom stopped 31 shots, posting his fifth consecutive loss.

Dupuis banged home a rebound 49 seconds into the game to give the Penguins an early lead and Sutter fired a loose puck from the left faceoff circle 1:54 into the second period. Niskanen blasted a one-timer from the point past a screened Backstrom on a power play 1:39 later and Kunitz chipped in a centering feed from Crosby at 10:43 of the period to extend the lead to 4-0.

Pominville scored 37 seconds after Kunitz’s tally and Heatley cut the deficit to two 3:13 into the third period on a rebound opportunity. The Wild had a lengthy 5-on-3 a couple of minutes later, but Maatta was hooked by Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin on a breakaway after exiting the penalty box and his penalty shot attempt trickled through Backstrom to restore the three-goal advantage.

Flyers 5, Blue Jackets 4

Captain Claude Giroux scored twice in the final 3:46 to cap a five-goal third-period outburst as Philadelphia stunned Columbus to extend its home winning streak to eight games.

Giroux, who also had a pair of assists, scored on a backhander with 1:38 to play for his 100th career goal as the Flyers erased a a three-goal deficit and improved to 5-0-1 all time in Philadelphia against the Blue Jackets. Steve Mason made 24 saves against his former team but was bailed out as the Flyers stormed back after trailing 3-0 deficit through two periods.

Jakub Voracek and Braydon Coburn scored 62 seconds apart to ignite the comeback and defenseman Erik Gustafsson also tallied for Philadelphia. Cam Atkinson, Jack Skille, Nick Foligno and Blake Comeau had goals for Columbus, which suffered its first regulation loss under coach Todd Richards when leading after two periods (36-1-1).

Leading 1-0 after one period courtesy of Atkinson’s short-handed tally, Skille doubled the lead at 4:44 of the second with a blistering slap shot from the right faceoff dot before Foligno seemingly put Columbus in command with 7.5 seconds left in the second. The Flyers rallied on the quick goals by Voracek and Coburn — the latter coming on a fluke bounce off a wrister from the blue line.

Comeau was set up by Artem Anisimov at 8:35 of the third to restore the lead to two goals, but Gustafsson and Giroux tallied 53 seconds apart to deadlock it at 4-4 at 16:14 before Giroux settled it by beating Curtis McElhinney (34 saves) with his milestone goal, falling to the ice with his back to the net from the bottom of the right circle.

 

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