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Slump-busting Sabres take easy rout Sabres vs. Bruins: Briere nets second career hat trick, becomes fifth on team to reach 20 goals

Based on the dominant nature of what took place Tuesday night in HSBC Arena, one would expect to see names like Genghis and Attila on the scoresheet.

The victory-deprived Buffalo Sabres went on a rampage and there was nothing the hapless Boston Bruins could do to quell them in a no-doubt, 7-1 rout that ended a three-game skid.

"We needed to focus on some little areas that had gotten casual and there wasn't enough desperation," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "For 60 minutes that desperation was there, and we got it from a lot of places."

Daniel Briere recorded his second career hat trick to give Buffalo five 20-goal scorers, the most in the league. Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville each had a goal and an assist. Chris Drury and Paul Gaustad also scored.

Martin Biron, starting in place of weary All-Star goalie Ryan Miller, made 25 saves. The only puck that got past him was a five-on-three one-timer off Glen Murray's stick late in the first period.
The Sabres, unable to avoid a losing record for January, closed the month with authority. They snapped their three-game losing streak like a termite-infested Sherwood and handed the reeling Bruins, losers of 10 of their last 14 games, a fourth straight defeat.

"We needed that game," Briere said. "We needed to get a little confidence back and realize we're OK here and we have the team to make it work."

A win was important for the Sabres, who were playing their lone home game from Jan. 20 to Feb. 6. They will open a three-game road trip Thursday in Boston before playing the New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers.

"It felt good to be back at home and play the game we wanted to play from the very first minute," Biron said.

Buffalo scored six goals, the first two on power plays and another short-handed, on 23 shots inside the first 40 minutes to send Boston goaltender Hannu Toivonen fleeing. The sellout crowd of 18,690 erupted when Briere scored his third goal of the night and 21st of the season on reliever Tim Thomas in the third period.

"I shouldn't say it was one of those nights," Briere said. "It's been one of those last 10 days for me. It's been crazy. It's been a lot of fun lately."

Not counting last week's five-point All-Star MVP performance, Briere has five goals and six assists in his past six games.

The Sabres were in command from the start, and their opening line of Gaustad between Nathan Paetsch and Adam Mair set the tone. It wasn't long before myriad tenants occupied the Bruins penalty box. The Bruins were whistled four times in the first 7:03, giving the Sabres a five-on-three power play for 2:01.

"We wanted to get right at them from the very beginning," Briere said. "We wanted to come out strong."

The Sabres managed only one shot while up two men, but it came off Vanek's stick and gave them a lead 2:15 into the game. He scored his 25th goal with two seconds left on the first of three rapid-fire Bruins penalties, keeping the Sabres with a two-man advantage for another 50 fruitless seconds. Any fears the wasted opportunity would cost Buffalo subsided when Drury scored his power-play goal at 8:33.

Paetsch, moved to the wing to keep him in uniform and on the power-play point despite Henrik Tallinder's return from a sprained ankle, zipped a wrister that struck Drury's skate atop the crease. The puck trickled through Toivonen's legs for Drury's team-leading 27th goal.

"With that lead, guys were feeling a little more comfortable in doing the things Lindy's been asking them to do and the sticks weren't squeezed as much," Biron said.

After Murray scored to bring the Bruins within a goal, the Sabres mounted a second-period charge that razed their free-falling Northeast Division opponents, who have been outscored, 19-3, in their past four games.

Briere and Gaustad scored goals 79 seconds apart to give Buffalo a comfortable 4-1 advantage. Pominville finished off a slick give-and-go with defenseman Toni Lydman to score Buffalo's fifth short-handed goal and first since tallying two Nov. 22 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

e-mail: tgraham@buffnews.com

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Sabres 7

Bruins 1

Slap shots: Briere nets second career hat trick. . . . Biron stops 25 shots in place of resting Miller. . . . Seven Sabres had at least two points and five others had one each.
Fast fact: Sabres are 15-1 with an overtime loss when Tallinder plays.
Next game: Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. Thursday in TD Banknorth Garden

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