Series (Game 5 of 5)

Boston leads 3-2

Game 1: Tuesday, November 12th
Game 2: Saturday, November 23rd
Game 3: Wednesday, December 18th
Game 4: Friday, January 10th
Game 5: Saturday, April 5th

Sabres 5

(27-37-8, 71 pts)

Bruins 8

(36-31-4, 87 pts)

1:00 PM ET, April 5, 2003

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

1 2 3 T
BUF 2 1 25
BOS 4 2 28

J. Stumpel (Bruins - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

M. Knuble (Bruins - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

S. Samsonov (Bruins - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Bruins end drought on man-advantage

BOSTON (AP) -- Sergei Samsonov and the Boston Bruins' offense returned just in time.

 Sergei Samsonov

The speedy Samsonov had a goal and assist after missing the previous 50 games following wrist surgery as Boston beat the Buffalo Sabres 8-5 Saturday.

Scoring chances will be more precious against the stingy New Jersey Devils in the first round of the playoffs. So Samsonov's performance and the Bruins' outburst are promising, especially after they had just eight goals in their previous five games.

"I'm just happy to be on the ice, never mind scoring," he said. "I was looking forward to this for a long time."

Samsonov, the NHL rookie of the year in 1997-98, brings skating and stickhandling that defenses must focus on. He said he's sure he'll be ready for the playoffs, which start in New Jersey.

"It brings a lot of anxiety to the other team,'' Boston coach Mike O'Connell said. "He opens up the ice for all the other players."

Samsonov joins an attack that includes Glen Murray and Mike Knuble, who each had two goals in Boston's regular-season finale, which clinched the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.

"There might be a total of 13 goals in the whole series" against New Jersey, Murray said.

The Sabres will watch from the sidelines after missing the playoffs for the second straight season. They have one game left Sunday.

"I don't think we've been outclassed in any game all year," goaltender Martin Biron said. "We were outclassed in the first period'' Saturday.

Boston led 4-2 after the first period on two goals by Knuble, who finished with 30, and one each by Murray and Brian Rolston. Daniel Briere and Miroslav Satan scored for Buffalo against goalie Steve Shields, Boston's probable playoff starter, who was replaced by Tim Thomas for the last two periods.

Shields appeared shaken up when a Buffalo player skated into him, but he said he felt fine.

The Bruins broke out of an 0-2-3 slump and an 0-for-25 power-play drought by scoring on two of them Saturday.

"Four of their first six shots on goal, they score," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "That's tough to overcome."

Jozef Stumpel's power-play goal put Boston ahead 6-3 after two periods, but Buffalo made it 6-5 early in the third period on goals by Taylor Pyatt at 2:23 and Milan Bartovic, his first in the NHL, at 3:06 on a forehand from the front edge of the left circle.

Then Samsonov made it 7-5 at 4:35 of the third period with a shot from the top of the left circle, and Murray finished the scoring at 5:38.

"Whenever (Samsonov) touches the puck, something special's going to happen," Joe Thornton said. "We knew he was going to be all right."

Rolston's 27th goal -- on a hard shot that Biron stopped, then allowed to trickle past him -- put Boston ahead for good, 3-2 at 14:52 of the first period. Knuble then scored his career-high 30th goal.

In the second period, Don Sweeney gave Boston a 5-2 lead with his third goal at 15:20 before Dmitri Kalinin made it 5-3 on a short-handed goal, his eighth goal of the season.

Game notes
The eight goals were the most by the Bruins since Feb. 4, 2002, when they beat Columbus 8-0. ... The Bruins had three players with at least 30 goals for the second straight season. Murray, Joe Thornton and Knuble did it this season. Murray, Bill Guerin and Rolston did it last season. ... Thornton finished with 100 points and 109 penalty minutes, joining Bobby Orr and Ken Hodge as the only Bruins with at least 100 of each in the same season. Thornton assisted on the game's first goal. Thornton is the first Bruin with 100 points since Adam Oates had 112 in 1993-94. ... Buffalo allowed 10 goals in its previous six games. ... The Sabres didn't have a power-play goal after getting at least one in eight of their previous 10 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press