Bruins Take Game 1 vs. Hasek, Sabres
By Howard Ulman
BOSTON – The Boston Bruins insisted that Dominik Hasek was beatable. Thursday they beat Buffalo's goaltender enough to win the opener of their second-round playoff series against the Sabres, 4-2.
Dmitri Khristich scored twice for his first goals of the playoffs as the Sabres, who swept Ottawa 4-0 in the opening round, suffered their first postseason loss.
"He is human,'' Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe had said Wednesday. "He does get scored on.''
Hasek is widely regarded as the NHL's best goalie, but Dafoe, who led the league with 10 shutouts and was third with a 1.99 goals-against average, isn't far behind. On Thursday night, he was better.
Dafoe stopped 28 shots. In his previous game, he got his second shutout of the playoffs as Boston beat Carolina 2-0 on Sunday night to clinch the opening series 4-2.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal is scheduled for Sunday in Boston. The teams tied with 91 points in the regular season, but the Bruins got the sixth seed in the East because Boston had two more wins.
The Sabres, who lost in the Eastern finals last season, had gone eight days between games but that wasn't enough time for Miroslav Satan, who led them with 40 goals, to recover from an ankle injury as he missed the game. The Bruins showed no shortage of intensity despite going 1-4 against Buffalo in the regular season.
Boston opened a 2-0 lead on goals by Jason Allison on a power play at 13:59 of the first period and Khristich, who led the team with 29 regular-season goals, at 15:21 of the second.
Alexei Zhitnik cut the lead to 2-1 on a power play at 18:19 of the period, but Boston restored the two-goal lead when Joe Thornton got his second playoff goal at 19:46, just 16 seconds after Wayne Primeau was penalized for hooking.
Jason Woolley made it 3-2 when he collected a loose puck just in front of the left point, whirled and fired it past Dafoe at 9:37 of the third period.
Boston got its third home playoff win in four games after entering the postseason with a 1-10 mark in its previous 11 home playoff games.
Allison, who had 23 regular-season goals, scored when he carried the puck past Richard Smehlik as he crossed the blue line on the right side. The five-footer hit Hasek's left arm and went in over his shoulder. It extended Allison's point streak to seven games, including an assist in each of the six games against Carolina.
Khristich made it 2-0 and Allison made it possible as he skated behind the net and passed to Kyle McLaren to Hasek's left. McLaren then shot across the crease where Khristich poked the puck in.
Zhitnik then ended Dafoe's shutout streak at 134 minutes, 49 seconds with a power-play slap shot from inside the right circle that went just inside the right post.
Thornton then scored when he tipped in a 50-foot shot by Ray Bourque. Boston scored on two of its four second-period shots but needed both goals as Woolley drew the Sabres within a goal of the lead. Khristich added his second playoff goal into an empty net with 12 seconds left.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press