Final

Boston won 4-2 (Game 1 of 6)

Boston won 4-2

Game 1: Thursday, April 15th
Bruins1Final
Sabres2
Game 2: Saturday, April 17th
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Sabres3
Game 3: Monday, April 19th
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Bruins2
Game 4: Wednesday, April 21st
Sabres2Final
2OT
Bruins3
Game 5: Friday, April 23rd
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Sabres4
Game 6: Monday, April 26th
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Bruins4

Bruins 1

 

Sabres 2

 

Coverage: CBC

7:00 PM ET, April 15, 2010

First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York

1 2 3 T
BOS 0 1 01
BUF 1 1 02

R. Miller (Sabres - G): Saves: 38, Save Pct.: .974

T. Vanek (Sabres - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Roy (Sabres - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Miller's 38 saves makes Sabres' lead hold up for 1-0 lead over Bruins

Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ryan Miller was the Buffalo Sabres' difference maker all regular-season long. Turns out his role hasn't changed in the playoffs.

Miller was remarkable in making 38 saves -- including 23 in the second period -- in the Sabres' 2-1 playoff-opening victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night

LeBrun: Miller's play saves Sabres

In an opening 48 hours full of surprises in the playoffs, there were none in Buffalo in Game 1. When Ryan Miller is in his zone, the Sabres don't have to be perfect, as ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun notes. Story

• McDonald: Playoff hockey unique

"When he's at the top of his game, we're a very, very difficult team to play against," captain Craig Rivet said. "Tonight, Ryan showed when he's playing well and he's confident, I think you see the confidence you see the team plays with."

That confidence was apparent in Rivet's performance.

After Miller helped the Sabres weather the Bruins' offensive storm for most of the second period, Rivet regained the momentum by scoring on a slap shot from the right circle to break a 1-1 tie with under 6 minutes left.

"I haven't scored a lot of goals," said the veteran defenseman who scored only his fourth goal in his 64th playoff game. "When you have a chance to chip in and help your team, it feels real good."

Thomas Vanek also scored for the Northeast Division champion Sabres, making their first playoff appearance in three years.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinal is Saturday in Buffalo.

Fast Facts

• Craig Rivet scored the winner in the second period as the Sabres improved to 31-0-0 this season when leading after two periods. Rivet scored one goal in 78 regular-season games.

• Thomas Vanek scored the Sabres first goal, giving him six goals in his past three games dating back to the regular season.

• Mark Recchi scored his 51st career playoff goal, tying him for second among active players.

• The Bruins, who ranked last during the regular season with 2.39 goals per game, had one goal in the loss.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Mark Recchi scored for the Bruins, while Tuukka Rask was solid in making 30 saves.

The tight margin of victory was no surprise in a game between two division rivals, and two goalies that finished the regular season first and second in goals against and save percentage.

The difference was the second period, in which the Bruins out-shot the Sabres 24-8, but found themselves trailing 2-1.

"That happens. But there's too many positive to worry about that right now," Recchi said. "We're upset we lost, but there's too many good things that happened."

It was a game of shifting momentum, with the Sabres controlling the tempo and buzzing the net through most of the first period. Buffalo was rewarded by opening the scoring 4:52 in when Vanek snapped in Roy's drop pass on a 2-on-1 rush.

The Bruins responded in opening the second period getting five of the first six shots on net. It wasn't until 9:30 in, when Recchi finally beat Miller with a power-play goal by converting a rebound from the slot.

Rivet's goal snuffed the Bruins' momentum in what began as an innocent rush by rookie Tim Kennedy. Gaining the Bruins' blue line, Kennedy attracted two Boston defenders before he fed the puck to a wide-open Rivet in the right circle. With teammate Patrick Kaleta providing a screen, Rivet blasted a shot in the top far corner.

"Whether you lose 10-1 or 2-1, it's a loss," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We played hard enough, we played well enough, but only one team's going to come out with a win. They did tonight."

Credit Miller, who continued to build a splendid year in which he won a franchise-best 41 games and backstopped the United States to a silver medal at the Vancouver Games.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Sabres are the higher seed, but the Bruins won the regular season series 4-2. Who will advance from this Northeast Division showdown? Follow the matchup from day one on ESPN.com. Series page

• 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs
• SportsNation: Who will win?

• ESPNBoston.com: Bruins blog

Miller robbed Patrice Bergeron's attempt to snap in a rebound from the slot early in the second period. That stop led the sellout crowd to start its familiar "USA! USA!" chant. Miller also held his ground to foil Marco Sturm's hot shot from the left circle later in the frame.

The Sabres regained their composure in the third period by allowing only six shots. Miller was tested once, stopping David Krejci's initial shot off a partial breakaway, and then preventing the center from shoving in the rebound.

All in a day's work for Miller, who admitted to being a little tired after the second period.

"We're not going to have every period go our way," Miller said. "But to respond and get a goal back and then hold the lead in the third period, it's really positive."

The game turned chippy 15 minutes in after Bruins captain Zdeno Chara cross-checked Kaleta from behind and into the board behind the Boston net. That started a series of scuffles involving all 10 skaters, with several punches being thrown.

Chara was issued a double-minor penalty for boarding and roughing, but inexplicably left the penalty box after serving only 2 minutes. Officials didn't notice until there was a minute left, when Chara was sent back to the box.

Game notes


The 24 shots allowed by the Sabres matched a franchise playoff record, dating to a 3-2 win at Chicago in April 1980. ... Sabres C Jochen Hecht is out indefinitely after having a second operation in a week on his left pinkie. ... Bruins D Andrew Ference returned after missing the final nine games of the regular season with a hernia. ... Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has 53 career victories. He's 14th on the NHL list, one ahead of Sid Abel and Bryan Murray.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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