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Sabres Top Weary Boston 3-1

Buffalo goalie Dwayne Roloson knew he was better than his numbers. He proved it with 31 saves in a key 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

"I felt great tonight, just like I felt for all the other games," said Roloson, whose other games added up to a 3.24 goals-against average, a 3-6-2 record and early exits in three of his last four starts. "Sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you don't."

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  • Shaken by the boos that rained down on him before the game from a sellout crowd, Roloson slammed the door as Michal Grosek scored the winning goal to beat battle-weary Boston.

    "He played a very strong game for us," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, whose team is playing without injured goaltender Dominik Hasek. "He struggled in a couple games, but all goaltenders struggle at times."

    Michael Peca and Brian Holzinger also scored as slumping Buffalo gained some momentum in its struggle to stay in the playoff race. Once at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Sabres are chasing half a dozen teams and fending off a handful of others.

    Steve Heinze scored for Boston, which fell five points behind the Sabres just one night after a dramatic 5-4 win over the New York Rangers. The Bruins, trying to hold on to the eighth and last Eastern Conference berth, lost further ground in the playoff race when Florida moved within a point with a win over Tampa Bay.

    "Our game plan was to stay close and pull it out in the third," said Bruins forward Anson Carter, whose two goals 19 seconds apart in the third period gave Boston the win over the Rangers. "But they came up with a couple of big goals down the stretch and it took the wind out of us."

    Grosek put the Sabres up 2-1 with his 18th goal at 1:08 of the third period, flipping in Miroslav Satan's pass from behind the net.

    Holzinger's insurance goal at 9:19 of the third capped a pretty play by Geoff Sandersn, who stickhandled through the Boston defense and spotted Holzinger hanging around in front of Bruins goaltender Byron Dafoe. Dafoe finished with 19 saves.

    Peca's 26th goal made it 1-0 at 4:06 of the first period. Vaclav Varada threaded the puck through Ray Bourque on the left wing and slid it across to Peca for the shot.

    Boston beat Roloson early in the second period. Heinze tied the game on Boston's first power play, with seven seconds left on Stu Barnes' penalty for hooking Anson Carter. Joe Thornton delivered a perfect pass from behind the net and Heinze one-timed it.

    Dafoe stopped Buffalo's top scorer, Miroslav Satan, who slipped behind the Boston defense and tried to stick the puck underneath the goaltender with two minutes left in the second period. With just seconds to go, another shot by Satan went through the goalie's pads and deflected wide.

    The Bruins lead the league in killing penalties and held the Sabres to one shot on two power plays. The Sabres have scored just three goals on their last 72 power plays.

    Bourque, 38, played in his 1,437th game, moving past Johnny Bucyk into first place in games played for the Bruins. Boston is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games. The Sabres have outscored Boston 13-5 despite being outshot 98-91.

    The Sabres said they were sparked by Barnes, who arrived in a trade with Pittsburgh for disgruntled Matthew Barnaby after Thursday night's disappointing 5-2 home loss to Tampa Bay.

    "Anytime you make a change, it's going to spark your team in various ways," Holzinger said. "He's a guy that brings a lot of poise and we're going to look for him to help down the stretch."

    "It's fun," Barnes said. "It's great to get a win the first time out."

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