BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Tim Thomas made 33 saves in his seventh straight win, and Brad Marchand and Michael Ryder had a goal and assist each to lift the surging Boston Bruins to a 5-2 victory over the Ryan Miller-less Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.
Thomas (7-0), who entered with a 0.50 goals-against average after consecutive shutouts, had his shutout streak of 167 minutes, 12 seconds snapped by Drew Stafford’s second-period goal that made it 4-1.
Andrej Sekera also scored for Buffalo, which came in with the second-fewest points (8) in the NHL after winning the Northeast Division last season.
Thomas allowed more than one goal for the first time this season, but tied a career high for longest winning streak.
Patrice Bergeron, Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic also scored for Boston (7-2), which set a franchise record by winning its fifth consecutive road game to open a season.
Thomas’ best save came as the Sabres’ 37-second, two-man advantage was winding down with 13 minutes to go. He dived and reached behind with the paddle of his stick to deny Derek Roy’s stuff-in chance at the right post.
The sliding Sabres (3-8-2) lost their fourth straight, and played with Miller out of uniform for the first time this season. Miller is nursing an undisclosed lower body injury that he tweaked late in Friday’s overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.
Rookie Jhonas Enroth, recalled from Portland of the AHL, got the surprise start for Buffalo over regular backup Patrick Lalime, but was pulled after surrendering three goals on 12 shots in one period.
Lalime then gave up two goals on 13 shots. The 22-year-old Enroth made just his second career NHL start, both against the Bruins.
Boston has won seven of eight since opening the season with a loss to Phoenix.
Buffalo welcomed back right wing Jason Pominville, who missed nine games because of a concussion sustained when he was hit into the boards from behind by Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Boston scored three times in the first period, including short-handed goals by Marchand and Bergeron. Marchand scored on a breakaway after taking Tim Connolly’s errant pass in the Boston zone. Bergeron wristed in his second of the season from the top of the right circle.
It was Marchand’s first NHL goal.
Wheeler pushed the Bruins lead to 3-0 with his first of the season with 3:06 left in the first period. Standing just outside the corner of the crease, Wheeler lifted in Ryder’s pass from behind the net after outmuscling Stafford.
Ryder made it 4-0 at 2:11 of the second, wristing a shot past from the lower portion of the right circle past Lalime.
Stafford finally solved Thomas with a power-play goal with 3:21 left in the second period, banging home a loose puck.
Sekera cut the deficit to 4-2 with 4:34 remaining in the game.
Lucic capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 2:07 left.
Notes: Buffalo captain Craig Rivet returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games. … Sabres RW Mike Grier played in his 1,000th NHL game. … Sabres coach Lindy Ruff coached in his 997th NHL game, and will be inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday. … It was the first meeting between these teams since Boston ousted Buffalo in six games in the first round of last season’s playoffs. … Thomas came in having lost five straight starts against Buffalo. … Stafford’s goal snapped Boston’s overall shutout string at 195 minutes, 51 seconds.
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