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Boston out-works Sabres as the series shifts back to Buffalo
Sunday, May 16, 1999

The Boston Bruins were determined not to get eliminated today in Bean Town and Pat Burns put together a game plan that resembled Buffalo's. In doing so they completely dominated the Sabres 5-3, thereby starving off elimination. The Bruins were pinching in their defensemen to help the offense on the play and by doing so, kept the Sabres trapped in their zone most of the day. The Sabres scored first when Curtis Brown took a pass from Joe Juneau and one-timed it past Bryon Dafoe. The Bruins scored right after a power play at the 9:01 mark to tie it. But the first period was completely dominated by the Bruins. They outshot Buffalo 16-6 and Hasek had to be brilliant to keep the score tied. But in the second, the Bruins lit the lamp and often. Sergei Samsonov, Mattias Timander and Dmitri Khristich got the puck past Hasek and the Bruins went into the dressing room ahead 4-1 and sure of a victory. However, the Sabres had other things in mind when they came out in the third. Wayne Primeau got a pass in front from Erik Rasmussen and then Juneau scored after Stu Barnes fed a beauty of a pass to him all alone on the side of the net.

The Sabres came back, but it was a bit too late. In the last minute, they tried unsuccessfully to pull Dwayne Roloson, who had replaced Hasek at the start of the third, but instead Allison was able to get by Alexei Zhitnik and put the puck past Rolie the Goalie at the 19:17 mark of the period and that was all she wrote!

The Sabres had better come out with a much better performance in Game 6 on Tuesday, or they'll find themselves heading back to Boston for a Game 7 on Thursday. They way they played in the first 2 periods, that seems very probable. The Sabres have got to put the pressure on the Bruins and hit at every opportunity. Boston took the game to the Sabres and beat them at their own game: heavy hitting, the defense pinching in, and dumping the puck and beating the defense to it. A seventh game is very possible. The Sabres were too confident going into this one and it showed. They put it on cruise control and thought they had the game when Curtis Brown scored the games first goal. The Sabres never seem to learn their lesson. They did the same in Game One and they did the same when they took over first place in the Eastern Conference on December 26. They have to keep fighting, because as soon as they get comfortable, their opponents get all over them. Tuesday's game is a must win for Buffalo. They cannot afford to go back to Boston, where they have a hard time beating the Bruins.