Stafford’s Hat Trick Propels Buffalo Past Boston

What a way to start the new year. On a night when the Sabres honored two greats into the Hall of fame, Buffalo put on a show. (Alexander Mogilny and Jim Kelley were inducted into the Buffalo Hall of Fame.) The Sabres and Bruins put on quite an offensive performance, but the Sabres came out on top.

Drew Stafford was easily the star of the night as he scored three goals (along with a shootout goal), to propel the Sabres over the Bruins 7-6.

It looked like Boston was in complete control early on in the opening period, scoring three out of the first four goals and taking a two goal lead.

The Bruins came into this game with a 15-1-1 record when they score first. One of those losses came against Buffalo earlier this season and the Sabres gave them another one on Saturday. Stafford had a hat trick in that game as well.

Boston also came in with a 17-0 record when having a two or more goal lead this season, but that changed after the loss to Buffalo.

With two goals in the third period, the Bruins were a minute away from leaving Buffalo with two points. But with 28 seconds to play, Stafford struck again, giving the Sabres life and momentum into overtime.

Five out of the six shooters in the shootout scored. Zdeno Chara was the only one who didn’t, which cost his team the game.

“It’s good to get that extra point in that kind of a game,” Stafford said. “It’s good to contribute individually, but its a big win for the team.”

There were three goals in a span of a minute and 20 seconds early on. The Bruins made it 3-1 with a shot from the point that was tipped by Brad Marchand.

Thomas Vanek cut the lead in half with a neat backhand shot. Vanek avoided Rask’s poke check and deposit his goal of the season with six minutes remaining in the first period.

With the Sabres on the power play, the Bruins came down the ice on a two-on-one and Zdeno Chara beat Miller with a one-timer shot to make it 4-2 Boston.

With that goal, the Sabres have allowed a league high of seven short-handed goals.

The Sabres took their first lead of the game late in the second period on the power play. Jason Pominville’s shot from the point was deflected in the net off of Siedenberg. Pominville’s second goal of the night put the Sabres up 5-4.

Boston tied the game at five with a goal from Tyler Seguin early in the third period. Seguin assisted on the next Bruins goal, giving the Bruins a 6-5 lead.

After tying it up in regulation, Stafford, Vanek and Ennis all scored in the shootout.

Ryan Miller finished the night with 34 of 40 saves, earning his 201st career victory. Tuukka Rask started the game, but was pulled after the first period. Rask allowed three goals on 16 shots. Tim Thomas came in and allowed three goals on 19 shots and earned the loss.

The Sabres will head out west for a three game road trip against Colorado, San Jose and Phoenix.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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