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OT game-winners key in tight playoff races

Better late than never for the Bruins.

Better late than never for the Bruins.

Marc Recchi needed overtime for his winning goal in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over the Sabres, as the referees missed the game-winner in real time and didn’t correct the error — and award the Bruins the victory — after a full minute of playing time.

Hey, whatever works. In this case, justice delayed was a shootout loss denied. After losing all three of their previous shootouts, the Bruins won their first OT game of the season.

“We haven’t been very good in shootouts,” head coach Claude Julien said, stating the obvious. “We don’t have a very good percentage as a group, so I guess, for the time being, you try to adjust.”

The Bruins, who face the Islanders tonight at the Garden, had lost their previous game in a shootout last Saturday in Toronto. But Recchi was able to convert on a 4-on-3 power play to salvage two points, instead of just one.

“It’s huge, especially when you get it in overtime,” defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “It’s one of those things you want to capitalize, you want to make sure that you score, you don’t want to go into a shootout.”

And the extra point was crucial, allowing the Bruins to build a seven-point lead over the ninth-place Sabres in the Eastern Conference.

“To finish it off, that’s the key,” goalie Tim Thomas said. “You need to find a way to win that in overtime. So that’s what we did and that’s a good thing. It’s very tight right now and the two points puts a little more separation between us and those teams in ninth, 10th [and] 11th.“

 
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