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Sabres top Bruins for rare winning streak

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Right winger Drew Stafford and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres are finally beginning to find their scoring touch.

Stafford scored his first goal since early November with 5:41 remaining, leading the Sabres to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. It was the second game in a row the Sabres scored four goals and only the third time all season Buffalo scored four times in regulation.

"We've had to compete, our battle level has been there," Stafford said. "I feel like we've been in games, and it just wasn't really translating to wins. Now we're slowly starting to get that."

Left winger Marcus Foligno, center Brian Flynn and Tyler Myers also scored for the Sabres (9-23-3). Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller made 34 saves.

Buffalo won back-to-back games in regulation for the first time all season while improving to 3-1-1 in its past five games.

"We've been coming together," Foligno said. "Goals have been coming together. If we're putting the work in, points will start happening. That's what guys are believing in."

Stafford's goal was worthy of the highlight reel. With the game tied at 2, Stafford burst around the right end of the ice and put a wrap-around past Bruins backup goalie Chad Johnson, who got the start in place of Tuukka Rask.

"You know, long time coming," Stafford said. "I had to stick with it, and sooner or later one was going to have to go in. I'm getting my shots, getting my chances. To be able to do get one there to help contribute to a win makes it even better."

Myers gave the Sabres some insurance 1:19 later on his third goal of the season. Flynn led Buffalo on a three-on-one rush up ice and waited patiently for Myers, the trailer, who put a wrist shot past Johnson on his blocker side.

"Felt good," Myers said. "The floodgates are opening a little bit. We just have to make sure we keep staying consistent and making sure we're doing the little things that are giving us those opportunities to score that many goals in a game."

Left winger Brad Marchand scored both of Boston's goals.

"I thought that we had a pretty good game and we could've deserved more, but we've got to regroup and play better the next game," Marchand said.

Bruins coach Claude Julien added, "We deserved a better fate, I think, than what happened. I thought we controlled the game pretty good, but their goalie made some pretty big saves to keep them in the game, especially in that second period. We had lots of chances."

Johnson made 19 saves for the Bruins (23-10-2), who outshot Buffalo 36-23.

"I have no comment on individual stuff, but it certainly wasn't his best game," Julien said of Johnson.

Penalties dominated the first period, but it was a short-handed goal that got Buffalo on the board first. Flynn gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead with 3:33 left in the period on a short-handed breakaway. Flynn roofed a backhand shot past Johnson for his third goal of the season.

Boston answered with a short-handed goal of its own 1:50 into the second period. Marchand finished a two-on-one rush with a wrist shot through Miller's legs for his sixth goal of the season.

Marchand added another goal just 1:04 later to put Boston up 2-1. This time, he roofed a shot into the top left corner of the net.

Buffalo tied it at 2 with 2:49 to go in the second period on Foligno's fifth goal of the season. Defenseman Jamie McBain's shot was going wide, but it hit Foligno, and the power forward put home the easy rebound for his second goal in as many games. Prior to Tuesday, Foligno had no points in 12 games.

Buffalo came back strong in the third period and was rewarded for its efforts.

"As talented as they are, I was very proud the way we played," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.

The two teams meet again in Boston on the back end of a home-and-home series Saturday.

NOTES: During the game, the Sabres announced that they acquired RW Linus Omark from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick. Omark had 14 goals and 15 assists in 29 games for AHL Oklahoma City this season. ... LW Daniel Paille (concussion) and LW Shawn Thornton (suspension) were scratched for the Bruins. ... D Chad Ruhwedel and LW John Scott were scratched for the Sabres. Leading up to the game, the Sabres considered playing Scott, their enforcer, on defense. ... C Matt Ellis played his 200th game in a Sabres uniform. The veteran recently returned to Buffalo after starting the season with the AHL's Rochester Americans.
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