Briere's Hat Trick Leads Sabres

Sabres 7, Bruins 1

The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 30, 2007; 11:08 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Daniel Briere's hat trick and a visit from the slumping Boston Bruins were more than enough to bring the Buffalo Sabres out of their funk.

Briere netted his second career three-goal game, and Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek added a goal and an assist each to give the Sabres a 7-1 victory over the Bruins on Tuesday night.

Daniel Briere
Buffalo Sabres center Daniel Briere skates away from a stick check by Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron during the first period on Tuesday night. (Don Heupel - AP)

The win, Buffalo's sixth straight at home against Boston, snapped the Sabres' season-high, three-game regulation-losing streak.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Briere, who played his first home game since earning All-Star MVP honors last Wednesday in Dallas. "We don't want to get too confident because it's just one game, but we needed this to realize that we're OK here."

Briere has been better than that lately. The co-captain is on a six-game point streak (5 goals, 6 assists), and had five points in the All-Star game.

"He's a heck of a player," Pominville said. "He's still proving what he is capable of."

The Sabres squandered third-period leads in consecutive losses to Columbus and the New York Islanders last weekend.

"We were struggling with the one-goal leads, so tonight we made sure we didn't stop," Briere said. "We just kept scoring goals."

Chris Drury and Paul Gaustad also scored, and Maxim Afinogenov posted three assists for Buffalo, which went 6-7-1 in January. It was the Sabres' worst month since December 2003.

"We did the little things better, and that's what made the difference," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "There was desperation in a lot of areas."

The Sabres scored two power-play goals, including Vanek's 25th tally just 2:15 in while Buffalo had a two-man advantage. They also had a short-handed goal when Pominville wristed a shot past goalie Hannu Toivonen at 15:11 of the second, pushing the lead to 5-1.

Buffalo broke the game open with four goals in the second, including two by Briere. Briere and Gaustad scored 79 seconds apart 6 minutes in, and Briere capped the big period with a goal at 17:24.

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