Dafoe takes round one as Bruins beat Sabres 4-2
Posted: Friday May 07, 1999 01:25 AM
BOSTON (AP) -- Boston coach Pat Burns knew his Bruins could beat Dominik Hasek even if the pre-game hype made Buffalo's goalie seem invincible.
"I think he let some goals in this year. I don't think his average is 0.00," Burns said. "The guy has been scored on."
The Bruins did it three times Thursday night and added an empty-net goal by Dmitri Khristich, his second goal of the game and the playoffs, as Boston won the opener of their second-round playoff series against the Sabres, 4-2.
"I didn't think they had too many goal-scoring chances," said Hasek, whose 1.87 goals-against average was second in the league. "We were always one or two goals behind and it's tough to come back from a deficit like that."
Hasek won the NHL's last two most valuable player awards, led the Czech Republic to the Olympic gold medal last season, was tops in the league in save percentage and allowed just six goals in Buffalo's 4-0 sweep of Ottawa in the first round.
But Boston goalie Byron Dafoe had two shutouts in the Bruins' 4-2 first-round victory over Carolina and led the NHL with 10 shutouts.
Hasek has "a lot of pressure on him. If he doesn't have an unbelieveable night, people question him," Dafoe said. "I don't mind getting second fiddle. That's fine."
More importantly, Boston scored the first goal against a strong defensive team, then withstood an aggressive Buffalo attack late in the game before Khristich scored into an empty net with 12 seconds to play.
"It's nice to get them behind right away," said Jason Allison, who gave Boston a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the series on a power play at 13:59 of the first period. "We're a good team when we're ahead and, with Hasek there, it's tough if you fall behind."
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 first five or six minutes we played pretty well," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff, who didn't think his team showed much rust from the layoff. "Then we had a little lull, but in the second and third periods we were really skating."
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 Allison in the first period and Khristich, who led the team with 29 regular-season goals, at 15:21 of the second perod.
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 scored 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.
"I came in the league with Dafoe. He continues to get better and better," Woolley said. "We were content with the way we played but I think we have more. I know we have more."
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.
"We got traffic. We got deflections," Allison said. "I don't think he (Hasek) let in a bad goal. We played well."
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 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 before Khristich's empty-netter.
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