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Let the QEW rivalry begin
Tuesday, May 18, 1999

For the second straight year, the Buffalo Sabres are going to the Eastern Conference finals. They took a 3-1 lead early in the second period and held on to defeat the Bruins 3-2. The Bruins came on hard in the third period and scored with a little over a minute to play to make it tight.

The Sabres came out strong in this one, trying to avenge their embarrassing 5-3 lost in Boston on Sunday. The pressure was on the Sabres to win this one. If they had lost, they would have had a very difficult time winning Game 7 in Boston. A loss would have been their second straight and would have let the Bruins off the hook for the second straight game. But the Sabres indeed had a mission tonight. The were bond and determined to finish this series once and for all.

Mike Peca score the first goal of the game on a hard slap shot during a first period power play. This continued a streak the Sabres have going as the only team to have scored a power play goal in each of their playoff games. The Sabres got charged with three penalties in a row and one began to wonder if Pat Burn's whining ways had gotten to the refs. The Bruins scored on one of them when Steve Heinze got a shot through Hasek on the short side to tie it up. He was assisted by Jason Allison and Ray Bourque.

Geoff Sanderson, playing what was one of his most impressive games in a Sabre uniform, stormed down the ice and passed off to Wayne Primeau who got his second of the playoffs. With only 1:08 gone into the second period, Curtis Brown scored the game winner off a pass from Erik Rasmussen.

The Sabres were obviously trying to protect Dominik Hasek tonight. He let in an apparently soft goal to Steve Heinze and with his groin condition, they just weren't sure if they could get a dominating performance from him in this game. With the defense playing a stellar game, they let only 7 shots on Hasek in the first and only 5 shots in the second periods. But in the third, the Bruins started playing desperation hockey. They threw 13 shots on Hasek and didn't get one past him until Joe Thornton deflected a long shot by Mattias Timander into the net with only 1:03 remaining in the game. Now the Bruins once again got off the hook and had a chance to tie the game. But the pressure was nullified by the Sabres defense and they were able to keep the pesky Bruins off the board for the remaining minute.

And now the long awaited Queen Elizabeth Expressway playoff series! The fans from both cities have been buzzing about such a playoff possibility for weeks now. There will be a mad rush to get tickets to the Buffalo home games by fans from both cities. The last time the Leafs played in Buffalo, over 8,000 Leaf fans chanted their team on to a 3-2 overtime victory. And now the two play to see who goes to the Stanley Cup Finals!