Final

Series (Game 4 of 5)

Boston leads 3-2

Game 1: Tuesday, November 12th
Bruins4Final
Sabres3
Game 2: Saturday, November 23rd
Sabres1Final
Bruins4
Game 3: Wednesday, December 18th
Bruins2Final
Sabres4
Game 4: Friday, January 10th
Bruins2Final
Sabres4
Game 5: Saturday, April 5th
Sabres5Final
Bruins8

Bruins 2

(21-15-1, 47 pts)

Sabres 4

(11-23-2, 29 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 10, 2003

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
BOS 1 0 12
BUF 0 0 44

A. Kotalik (Sabres - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Dumont (Sabres - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

S. Barnes (Sabres - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Kotalik scores two goals for third straight game

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Ales Kotalik is giving the Buffalo Sabres some much-needed confidence on offense.

 Ales Kotalik
Kotalik

The rookie forward scored two goals for the third straight game as the Sabres scored four times in the third period to rally for a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.

Kotalik and the Sabres are 3-1 since coach Lindy Ruff paired him with Stu Barnes and J.P. Dumont.

"We've got a line now that believes it can score anytime," Ruff said. "It's probably the biggest difference. We've been feeding off a line we just believe can go out there and score goals."

With his 12th goal, Kotalik passed Chicago's Tyler Arnason for the rookie goal lead.

"I didn't even think I would ever score goals in the NHL, but it's coming," Kotalik said. "I can be comfortable and make things happen."

The Sabres won for the first time this season when trailing after two periods and overcame their first two-goal deficit since Dec. 1, 2001.

The Bruins, who dropped their fifth straight, lost for the first time this season when leading after two periods.

"Coaches do a great job of putting a game plan in place and we go out for 40 minutes," Boston defenseman Nick Boynton said.

Boston coach Robbie Ftorek agreed.

"We've got to be able to defend a lead," he said. "We've got to be able to play with a lead, not let them come from behind. We didn't get it done."

Tim Connolly and Miroslav Satan also scored for Buffalo, who trailed 2-1 midway through the final period.

Rookie Ryan Miller, making his fifth straight start, stopped 21 shots for Buffalo.

Kotalik tied it 2-2 with 11:53 left, and then put the Sabres ahead with 73 seconds left when he beat Shields slot.

Brian Rolston and Jozef Stumpel scored for Boston.

Satan added an empty-net goal for Buffalo with 2 seconds remaining.

The Bruins took a 1-0 lead when Rolston scored his 15th goal 18:49 into the first. He beat Miller on the short side from the lower end of the right faceoff circle. The puck caromed off the end boards in front of the net and the Sabres could not clear it.

Stumpel made it 2-0 just 31 seconds into the third. Connolly started the Sabres' comeback 1:14 later when he scored his fifth goal of the season -- his first in 25 games -- off a pass from Adam Mair and beat a sprawling Shields in the slot.

Boston last won 1-0 over Atlanta on Dec. 28. Coming in, Boston goaltenders had given up a combined 17 goals since the start of the new year. Shields, 5-5 in his last 10 starts, played his best game since he made 28 stops in a 4-2 win over Montreal Nov. 29. He lost his last start 4-2 Saturday against Carolina.

"We're trying to get back,'' Rolston said. "And there will probably be some changes until we get better."

Game notes
Boston is 17-1-1 when leading after two periods. ... Bruins captain Joe Thornton missed the game with an infected left elbow. Thornton, the NHL's third-leading scorer, entered a hospital Thursday and is expected to be remain there through the weekend and receive intravenous antibiotics. ... Jaroslav Kristek made his NHL debut for the Sabres after being recalled from Rochester of the AHL on Wednesday. ... Boston D Sean Brown received a game misconduct for being the third man in a first-period fight.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNBoston.com