Lindy Ruff and Tony McKegney each scored twice in the second period and Buffalo capitalized on a Boston breakdown in the opener of their best-of-seven Adams Division final. The teams take the Boston Garden ice again this afternoon.
The Sabres, in winning their fourth straight playoff game without a loss (three over Montreal), twice rallied from two-goal deficits.
Ruff, who made only 12 goals all season, led Buffalo's comeback and domination with two goals in a 62-second span for a 3-3 tie early in the second period.
McKegney scored at 9:37 and 15:35 to give Buffalo a 5-3 lead. The goals were almost identical; each time McKegney came out from behind the net and flipped a backhander off the pads of goalie Pete Peeters. McKegney's second goal came while Rick Middleton was in the penalty box, serving his second penalty of the playoffs after having only four all season.
Peeters had allowed only five goals in his last 11 periods.
"I don't think I've ever seen a game where more strange goals have gone in on us," said Boston Coach Gerry Cheevers. "They skated much harder than we did and that usually ends up in victory.