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Sturm scores shootout winner as Bruins edge first-place Sabres 3-2

The Canadian Press
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Bruins\' Marco Sturm of Germany scores the only goal in the shootout past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) Author: The Hockey News

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Sturm scores shootout winner as Bruins edge first-place Sabres 3-2

The Canadian Press
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Unfortunately for Buffalo, it came in a loss. Marco Sturm scored the lone shootout goal against Miller and Boston beat the Sabres 3-2, snapping the Bruins' three-game losing streak.

Miller made 35 saves for the Sabres, including an exceptional diving stick stop on Paul Mara late in the second period. But he couldn't get his stick on Sturm's game-winner.

Sturm, Boston's first shooter in the extra session, skated in and lifted a shot over Miller's stick inside the left post.

Miller made his highlight save on Mara with just over three minutes left in the second period to keep the game tied at 2-2. Mara, who hustled down the middle to turn a 2-on-1 break into a 3-on-1, fired a shot at what appeared to be an open net. Miller dove across from the right post and the puck hit off the centre of his stick while he was airborne. The puck dropped into the crease and Miller covered it up for a faceoff.

The Bruins were awed by the save.

"Absolutely. I came in and saw it on TV and said, 'You've got to be kidding me,"' Boston defenceman Andrew Alberts said. "You've got to appreciate it."

Marc Savard and P.J. Axelsson also scored for Boston, which avoided its longest losing streak of the season. Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht scored for the Sabres, winless in three (0-2-1).

"I still don't know how he saved it," Boston coach Dave Lewis said. "I watched the replay. I watched it live. I don't know how he saved it."

The teams each scored two goals in the opening period and remained tied through overtime despite some good chances on both ends.

Tim Thomas made 34 saves for Boston.

"Thomas made some huge saves over there as did Ryan," Roy said. "We had some opportunities that would have been goals and they just took them right away. Good goaltending goes a long way."

Even Thomas appreciated the play Miller made.

"It's fun to watch," he said. "If we would have lost I would have still said its a great save. I think that's one of the best saves I've seen."

Boston jumped ahead 1-0 at 3:23 of the opening period when Savard scored off the rebound of Zdeno Chara's shot from the edge of the right circle, slipping a wrist shot into the right post.

The Sabres tied it 2:34 later when Roy collected Daniel Paille's rebound along the goal line and scored on a tough angle, slipping a shot inside the far post.

Hecht scored off the rebound off Roy's shot, pushing Buffalo ahead 2-1 midway into the first period, but Boston answered with Axelsson's goal with just under a second left in the first period.

Axelsson was credited with the goal when the rebound of his shot caromed off Sabres' defenceman Jaroslav Spacek's leg and between Miller's pads. The game clock showed no time remaining, but, after a reply review, the goal was allowed and the officials put seven-tenths of a second on the clock.

"Ryan held us in there and made some great saves throughout the game," Buffalo's Adam Mair said. Notes: Boston's Shean Donovan hit the left post with just over eight minutes left. ... The teams meet again in Buffalo on Wednesday night. ... It was a 1 P.M. ET start for the Martin Luther King's Birthday holiday. ... The Sabres dropped to a league-best 17-4-2 on the road.

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Sturm scores shootout winner as Bruins edge first-place Sabres 3-2