The Boston Bruins were looking for redemption and revenge after falling 6-0 to the Sabres in January. With tension rising not only from the Miller incident boiling over, but Marchand’s media hype as well, there was no question fans were in for a treat.
The Bruins took the opening face-off, but there wasn’t much else that they would do in the first period having to fend off a shot early on that nearly cost them a deficit. There were a few good attempts coming from Chara and Campbell along with the top lines, but Buffalo was strong and dominated the majority of the first period putting Rask to work right away.
At the end of the first it was clear, remaining scoreless, the Bruins needed to come out of the locker room roaring and ready to go.Starting the second period, Tyler Seguin would start things off by intercepting a pass, skating it in alone and blasting a wrister off of Miller’s glove. Unfortunately Seguins’s super speed wasn’t enough to get the ball rolling and shortly after at 3:15 the Sabres would fight to get the puck through traffic and light the lamp. Though they got a couple of power play opportunities, the Bruins were unable to capitalize and remained down by one going into the third period, shots on goal being tied at 18 a piece.
As the Bruins took the ice to start the third period, you would think you were looking at an entirely new team. Granted, it is a well-known fact that the Bruins do their best work in the third period. The “Merlot Line” (Paille-Campbell-Thornton) went to work right off the back and drew a penalty on Sabres’ Ehrhoff for a delay of game. With the face-off in the Sabres end, the luck was in their favor. The previous shift by Thornton, Paille and Campbell had provided some decent scoring opportunities that Miller had come up strong with, but Captain Zdeno Chara had a little something extra up his sleeve for the goaltender. As he got possession of the puck he blasted a shot from the blue line that was saved by Miller, with traffic in front, the Sabres went to clear the zone and gave it right to Big Z to which he puts his record breaking shot to work and zips it above Millers shoulder on the stick side. In Miller’s defense, the puck itself made it from the blue line to the crease in about four seconds flat, add traffic into that mix and it’s no wonder you can’t stop it. Regardless, the Bruins had tied the game at 1 and the confidence boost was for the Captain and his team was present. The Bruins dominated much of the third period, as many would expect, and earned a power play with just :24 remaining in regulation, sending them into overtime with the man advantage.
Overtime provided a few good opportunities from Boychuck and a killer open net save made by Chara, but neither team were able to come out with a goal, forcing a shutout victory. First up for the Sabres was Jason Pominville who was denied by Rask, leaving David Krejci to step up to the plate. Normally fans see Krejci do a pull back and quick release for his shoot-out attempt, but tonight he moved from the forehand to the backhand and was able to squeeze the puck past Miller and put the Bruins up by one. For the Sabres it would be Thomas Vanek, he skated into the zone and released a shot that sailed past Rask, making it look easy, forcing the second round. Tyler Seguin used his speed and stick work to come in against a diving Miller who would trip Seguin and send the puck along with him, providing a miss for the sophomore superstar. Nathan Gerbe would also be stopped by Rask, leaving it up to Patrice Bergeron to finish off the Sabres. Unfortunately, his forehand, backhand was unable to convert to a goal and round four was under way with Derek Roy snapping a wrist shot high stick-side of Rask sending him into the net and the crowd wild. The Bruins fate would lie on Benoit Pouliot, as he carried the puck in and released a wrist shot, it went wide and the Sabres came out with a victory.
While the Bruins still gain a point in tonight’s loss, it doesn’t solve the fact that they can’t seem to grasp consecutive wins. However, based on their third period efforts and glimpses here and there in the first and second, they did play better than we have seen in a long time. Thankfully they aren’t in the same darkness they were in October due to the dreadful ‘Hangover.’ The Bruins are now on a plane headed to Ottawa to take on the Senators Saturday evening at 7:00pm EST in hopes of gaining 2points, increasing their lead over the Senators who are only 3points behind them in Conference standings.