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Sabres Central

Sabres survive the snowstorm, beat the Bruins 3-1
By Rick Anderson
March 7, 2001

Erik Rasmussen is taken down to the ice by the Bruins Hal Gill in the first period. The Sabres beat the Bruins 3-1.
[AP Photo/Patricia McDonnell]

The Buffalo Sabres were waiting for them. The team most adapt at handling blizzards were in Boston and may have been kidding each other about the Boston Bruins troubles getting back into town because of the snowstorm that put as much as 14 inches of snow on the ground. The Bruins had to take a train from Philadelphia, where they had played the night before because of the snowstorm. Because the Sabres had been in Boston for two days, they were well rested and coasted to a 3-1 victory over the home-town Bruins.

A sparse crowd of 8,100 had made it to the game and they saw the Bruins dominate the first period, outshooting the Sabres 11-4. Dominik Hasek, who had played poorly in his previous game against the Dallas Stars, was brilliant in goal during the first period, allowing the Sabres to regroup in the second period. Buffalo did what the Bruins did to the Sabres in the second period. The Sabres pelted Bruins goalie John Grahame with 21 shots in the period and scored 2 goals in the process. Curtis Brown and Jason Woolley got the second period tallies and the Sabres were on the road to wining their third game in their grueling 5-game road trip that included victories over Ottawa and Colorado. The two Buffalo loses came at the hands of Dallas and Philadelphia.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff had a little sympathy for the Bruins plight, but not much.

"Fatigue leads to the mental part of the game," said Ruff. "They had two, too-many men on the ice penalties; that's mental. But as bad as their travel's been, we've been all over the country."

Sabres take 2 goal lead

After the Sabres were badly outplayed in the first period, Ruff let his feels be known during the intermission. He was heard screaming at his players while Danny Gare was giving intermission comments for the Empire Sports Sabres broadcast in the hallway. It must have been ugly, but it surely woke up the players.

"It's been a tough haul for our club and I think you're going to see that every now and then, where there's a period where your players just don't quite have that commitment," said Ruff. "I think it's more mental than physical. We addressed it after the first period and I thought we came back with one of our best periods."

Maxim Afinogenov scooped up a loose puck near the Bruins blue line and fed it over to Chris Taylor, who skated in on Grahame. Taylor's shot bounced off Grahame and went right onto the stick of Brown who slipped a backhander past Grahame.

"The first period wasn't one we want to remember, but the second period was huge," said Brown.

A minute and a half later, the Sabres had a powerplay and Woolley got a blast past Grahame to put the Sabres up 2-0. Buffalo never looked back.

Boston was able to get back into the game when Jason Allison deflected Bill Guerin's shot past Hasek while the Bruins were on a powerplay. That would be it for the snow-weary Bruins, as the road-weary Sabres coasted to the victory. Vladimir Tsyplakov would add an empty-netter late in the game as the Bruins lifted Grahame in favor of an extra attacker.

Sabres Talk

"It was a long day, but overall I think we were pretty well rested," said Bruins goalie John Grahame , who stopped 27 shots in the loss. "I don't think that's an excuse at all."

"(I had a) pretty busy first 20 minutes, but on the other hand I was freezing in the second 20 minutes," Hasek said. "It was like day and night."

"The team they believe in us and they depend a little bit on the goaltending and I am glad to be there for them," Hasek continued. "When they struggle like they struggled in the first period it's my job to make some saves and that's what I did tonight."

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