Final score, 7-4 Sabres: That’s it from the Garden. The Bruins are no longer undefeated in regulation or at home, as the Sabres skate away with a well-earned victory on Boston ice.
Pominville added an empty-netter, making this one look ugly. Tonight was Vanek’s night.
One interesting note: Lindy Ruff called a timeout with 13.6 seconds left after the empty-netter. Rubbing it in a bit?
Third period, 1:31, 6-4 Sabres: That will just about do it, as Rich Peverley’s stick shatters on a shot attempt from the point, and he’s left helpless in the neutral zone. Thomas Vanek ends up all alone in front of the net, and after a few dekes, he gets Rask to the ice and backhands home his third goal of the night.
Earlier, when the Bruins were on the power play, Marchand fed Bergeron in front, and Bergeron patiently kept the puck on his stick until he had what looked to be an open net in front of him. Somehow though, Miller stayed with him and made the save of the night with his glove. That kept the 5-4 lead intact for the Sabres, and it should go down as the biggest play of the game.
Third period, 8:04, 5-4 Sabres: The four-minute power play lasted 30 seconds. Seidenberg goes to the box for diving at Foligno’s ankles and taking him down to the ice. It’s now 4-on-4 for two minutes, after which the Bruins will have 1:29 of power play time.
Third period, 8:35, 5-4 Sabres: What a wild sequence, one that would’ve probably tied the game on any night when the Bruins aren’t facing Ryan Miller. The netminder was able to go from his right to left post to stop a Zdeno Chara one-timed slapper from about 30 feet, though, and the Sabres keep their lead.
However, Dan Paille’s work in front of the net drew a four-minute high-sticking penalty on Tyler Myers, and the B’s power play has a chance to redeem itself for some earlier ineptitude.
Third period, 10:40, 5-4 Sabres: The building is pretty deflated right now. It’s almost as if everyone’s not aware that Horton is going to score the tying goal in dramatic fashion in a few minutes.
Third period, 13:06, 5-4 Sabres: A terrible defensive play by Johnny Boychuk leads to a Buffalo 2-on-1. Vanek faked a shot and slid a past across ice to Cody Hodson, who one-timed a shot into the net to give the Sabres a 5-4 lead.
Third period, 13:36, 4-4: What went somewhat lost in that little goal barrage was that Patrice Bergeron had left the ice early in the period with what looked to be a shoulder or arm injury. He went down the tunnel for a bit but did return to the ice, and he just won a defensive zone faceoff in that most recent sequence. He looks to be OK sitting on the bench right now talking to his linemates, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Third period, 17:32, 4-4: The Bruins’ lead lasted all of 40 seconds, as the Sabres quickly respond with the game-tying goal.
Grigorenko passed to Sulzer, who picked a pretty good time to score his first of the season.
Truly a wild game here at the Garden, though not for the reasons we anticipated heading in.
Third period, 18:15, 4-3 Bruins: That one was all David Krejci.
The centerman carried the puck into the offensive end looking to pass. With a sliding defenseman making that impossible, he carried the puck toward the middle of the net and wristed one past Miller’s blocker side. The B’s take the 4-3 lead.
Third period, 20:00, 3-3: Play is under way in the third.
End of second period, 3-3: Quite the swing of emotions at the end of the period, as the Sabres fight back and tied the game. The Bruins might be a little bit shell-shocked right now, so intermission comes at a convenient time.
The killer for Boston was the Lucic boarding penalty and Chara holding penalty on the same play. It’s not often a team gets out of that unscathed, and the Sabres made them play.
Shots are at 26-24 in favor of Boston through two periods.
Second period, 1:41, 3-3: We expected a lot of fights. Instead, we’re getting a lot of goals.
This one comes from Tyler Ennis, who was left all alone to Rask’s left. He roofed it over Rask, and we’ve got ourselves a tie hockey game.
Second period, 3:14, 3-2 Bruins: You really should score with a two-man advantage for two minutes, and the Sabres do just that. Christian Ehrhoff directs a shot from the blue line at Vanek in front of the net, and Vanek redirects it past Rask and into the net.
The play was briefly reviewed to see if it was kicked in, but it clearly hit the stick. 3-2 Bruins.
Second period, 4:15, 3-1 Bruins: Wow, it’s not often you see a player commit a penalty during a delayed penalty, but Zdeno Chara just held Vanek behind the net while the ref’s arm was already rasied for a Lucic boarding call.
The Sabres now get a two-man advantage and a golden opportunity to get back into the game.
Lucic boarded Sulzer deep in the Buffalo end earlier in the play.
Second period, 5:46, 3-1 Bruins: Man, Brad Marchand nearly recorded a hat trick in about five minutes of game time, but Bergeron couldn’t connect with him on a strange 2-on-2 rush.
The B’s nearly got a goal in that stretch as well, as Campbell’s high shot bounced off Miller and was nearly deflected in out of mid-air by Seguin. The goalie looked to make the stop though. Either way, the Bruins are rolling right now.
Second period, 9:06, 3-1 Bruins: With the sold-out crowd chanting “MILLL-ERRRR,” Ryan Miller’s now officially having a tough night, as Brad Marchand scores for the second time in three-plus minutes.
Bergeron skated out from the behind the net and fed Marchand in the slot. He fired a shot toward the net, and with Seguin battling in front, the puck slipped through the traffic and past Miller.
Bergeron and Seguin both get assists on the goal.
Second period, 12:17, 2-1 Bruins: Just like that, the Bruins have a lead.
This one comes seconds after the Bruins killed off the Peverley penalty (thanks in large part to a nice Rask save on a one-time bid from Foligno). Brad Marchand slipped along the left boards, past Tyler Myers and around Jordan Leopold, and with Miller down on the ice on the opposite post, Marchand slipped in a backhand to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
The assist goes to Bergeron, his third of the season. The goal was Marchand’s fourth, and he leads the team in that category.
Second period, 14:28, 1-1: Just 20 seconds after the Boston goal, Rich Peverley goes to the box. I honestly have no clue how in a massive scrap like the one that took place after the last whistle, only one guy goes to the box, but alas, that’s the situation.
Second period, 14:48, 1-1: The Bruins didn’t trail for very long, as Rich Peverley gets them on the board less than four minutes after Vanek’s goal.
With Daniel Paille and four white jerseys in front of the net, Peverley hopped on a loose puck in the slot and patiently waited for a shooting lane. He got one, and he buried it with a shot that looked like it clanged off a couple of posts after going in.
Second period, 18:22, 1-0 Sabres: A Zdeno Chara turnover at the offensive blue leads to an odd-man rush for Buffalo, and Thomas Vanek scores on a one-time slap shot from the left faceoff circle to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Cody Hodgson was the Sabre who carried the puck into the zone and fed Vanek, and Pominville gets the secondary assist.
Second period, 20:00: We’re under way in the second, and it looks like I was wrong about Thornton having another fight tonight. He won’t return in this game. Not sure what exactly the injury is but the Bruins are down a man.
End of first period, 0-0: The B’s and Sabres head to the dressing rooms in a scoreless tie, though the Bruins did get a couple of decent chances late. Tyler Seguin passed to Brad Marchand in the high slot, and Marchand tried to pick a corner but fanned on the shot. Then, after a faceoff in the Buffalo zone with less than 5 seconds left, the puck cycled to Zdeno Chara on the blue line. He let one rip, but Miller was up to the task.
The B’s are outshooting the Sabres 14-9 in what was sort of a weird period. I think neither team knew what to expect in terms of physicality and fighting and spent a lot of time feeling each other out. Neither team really threw the body around that much, but I’d bet the fights aren’t done for the night.
First period, 1:56: No dice for the Bruins’ power play. Milan Lucic did have a nice doorstep bid, but Ryan Miller again turned him aside. The PP is 0-for-2 but they look pretty good. I know people hate hearing that when the results aren’t there, but the unit looks much more capable than it has in recent games.
First period, 4:24: John Scott broke free with a scoring chance. He unsurprisingly did not score. Less than a minute later, he’s going back to the box for two minutes for elbowing.
The B’s power play gets a second chance.
First period, 7:17: The power play doesn’t score, but they did get a couple of really good chances. The first came when David Krejci streaked down the right wing from the point looking to score in the back door, but Peverley’s pass bounced over his stick. Shortly after that, Bergeron got the puck behind the net and fed Lucic in front, but Ryan Miller was able to make the save.
Just before the most recent whistle, Rich Peverley was looking to go end to end on a rush but as he reached the slot, he kind of got taken out by Lane MacDermid, who’s looked a little bit shaky thus far.
First period, 11:31: Still no score, but the Bruins will get the first penalty of the night, as Jordan Leopold goes to to the box for slashing. A power-play goal here would be what this crowd needs to wake up. It’s been a bit quiet since Thornton got knocked to the ice,
First period, 17:07: That didn’t take long.
Right off a faceoff in the neutral zone, Shawn Thornton and John Scott dropped the mitts, and you have to give that one to Scott. The 6-foot-8 forward just kept punching and punching, and he used his reach to his advantage. He eventually used his left hand to shove Thornton down to the ice not long after the fight started, so it wasn’t exactly a beatdown.
Thornton looked like he wanted more as he headed to the box. I don’t think those two are done tonight.
First period, 20:00: The puck has been dropped, and we’re under way.
7:04 p.m.: The Bruins are starting with Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin up front, so don’t expect any fights off the opening draw or anything. Steve Ott still might do something dumb, though.
On defense, Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg will start.
And in case you didn’t know, it’s Tyler Seguin’s 21st birthday today.
7:01 p.m.: Here’s how the Sabres will start this one out:
Tyler Ennis-Steve Ott-Drew Staffod
Christian Ehrhoff-Alexander Sulzer
6:45 p.m.: Hello and welcome to fight night at the Garden.
OK, well technically it’s a hockey game that’s going to be played here, but if this game goes as expected, we should see some bad blood brought to the ice when the puck drops for this Bruins-Sabres matchup.
Ever since Milan Lucic plowed through Ryan Miller in November 2011, these two teams haven’t liked each other all that much. In fact, you can even go back to the 2010 playoffs, when the Bruins bested the Sabres in six games to find the Sabres taking issue with the Bruins. If you don’t believe me, ask the poor water bottle cap which Lindy Ruff whipped off a wall during a postgame press conference that series.
Line rushes went as expected for the Bruins, who will look like this tonight:
Puck drop is shortly after 7 p.m. Stick with the blog throughout the game for updates. I’ve never been a boxing play-by-play man but I imagine I might get some practice tonight. It should be a good one.