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Bruins still fit to be tied on home ice

No win yet, but Samsonov's goal at 19:46 salvages point

Sergei Samsonov considered heading to the dressing room with about three minutes left in the third period of last night's game against the San Jose Sharks. After taking a shot off the right ankle, the Bruins left wing hobbled to the bench and grimaced. After a test shift, though, he determined he was fine.

Good thing. It was Samsonov's goal with 13.4 seconds remaining in regulation, with goalie Felix Potvin pulled for an extra attacker, that salvaged a tie for Boston, 5-5, at the FleetCenter. The team still has yet to earn a victory on home ice (0-1-2-1), but coach Mike Sullivan was pleased with the effort that resulted in 52 shots on net.

"I thought we played a real good hockey game," said Sullivan. "We executed the way we wanted to play. I thought they battled hard. I think if we have efforts like that, we're going to win a lot of hockey games."

It was a see-saw battle all night, and Boston started on the downside of it with San Jose tallying the first two goals. Right wing Niko Dimitrakos potted his first of the year with a fortuitous bounce off the Bruins' defense. Center Vincent Damphousse dished a pass to Dimitrakos, and his shot glanced off blue liner Ian Moran past Potvin at 2:48.

Former Bruins defenseman Kyle McLaren set up the Sharks' second tally. McLaren, positioned in the middle of the point, teed up a slapper that left wing Scott Thornton redirected from the left circle at 9:46. San Jose had only three shots on net but had a 2-0 advantage.

Moran pulled his club within a goal less than two minutes later with his first score in 131 games. Moran drove down the right circle and was challenged by defenseman Scott Hannan, so Moran faked to the inside. Hannan bit and Moran drove to the outside, snapping a shot from deep in the right circle over the glove of goalie Vesa Toskala and into the top corner at 11:01. Moran hadn't scored since Nov. 27, 2001, against New Jersey when he was still playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins. That ended the Bruins' home scoreless streak at 136 minutes 38 seconds. The action heated up in the middle period with five goals (three for Boston) as the Bruins outshot the Sharks, 20-7.

Rookie center Sergei Zinovjev drew a penalty midway through the second, leading to the tying goal. With defenseman Jim Fahey off for holding, left wing Mike Knuble cashed in at 12:34. Former Shark Jeff Jillson, positioned at the left point, threw the puck at the net, and Knuble muscled in the rebound inside the left post for his seventh of the year.

San Jose regained the lead at 14:17 on center Wayne Primeau's second of the year. Bruins center Travis Green lost a faceoff in the left circle to Alyn McCauley, who fired it back to Primeau at the left point. Primeau's shot beat Potvin to the stick side and it was 3-2.

Glen Murray pulled Boston even again a little more than a minute later. Joe Thornton skated the puck around the net from left to right and spied Murray in the slot. Murray's forehander eluded Toskala, giving him his second goal of the season and first since Oct. 25 in New Jersey.

Rookie Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins their first lead of the season in a home game when he scored on a power play at 16:24. With Brad Stuart off for hooking, Bergeron got the rebound of a Brian Rolston point shot and beat Toskala from outside the left post for his fourth of the year.

But that advantage lasted just a little more than a minute.

With the Sharks on the power play, right wing Jonathan Cheechoo got off a shot from the point that Potvin stopped. But Scott Thornton, positioned outside the right post, got the rebound and took two whacks at it before it found its way into the net at 17:42.

Cheechoo put the Sharks back on top at the 11-minute mark of the third when he scored on the power play. But Samsonov came to the rescue, sending it into OT.

"I think it was a pretty exciting game," said Knuble. "I think a lot of us had fun playing in it. It was kind of a throwback game, kind of seeing who was going to score last. We tied it up at the end and it was a good thing that time ran out so they couldn't score back on us. We showed a lot of offense. It was definitely an encouraging sign. Now we just have to tighten up the defense. We played confidently and generated a ton of offense and we have to be happy with that."

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