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Kotalik scores two goals for third straight game

1/10/2003

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

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.

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