Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was relegated to the press box for Wednesday's game against Boston after suffering three broken ribs when defenseman Jordan Leopold crashed into him in practice on Monday. But Ruff enjoyed the view from up top, with his club's total dismantling of a sloppy Bruins squad in a 6-0 rout easing his pain considerably.
"I felt better and better as the game went on," Ruff told reporters after the contest. "By the end, I felt really good. … I'd take a hit to win a game any day.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien didn't see things quite the same way. His up close look from the bench was not a pleasant one, especially as things unraveled in the second half of the game.
"I think it's those kind of things that we're not used to seeing from our hockey club," Julien said. "Certainly it opens your eyes as far as what can happen when you do lose your focus like that. Maybe we can use that as a real good wake-up call and hopefully come back and play a little bit better."
The Bruins actually got off to a decent start. They played a solid first period, and after surrendering an early goal appeared to tie it. But Milan Lucic's tally was waved off when Rich Peverley was ruled to have interfered with goalie Ryan Miller on the play.
Any contact between Peverley and Miller was minor at best, though the referees are certainly sensitive to any bodies around Miller after Lucic steamrolled him earlier this season.
"Who knows? You;re going to have to ask them," Julien said when asked if he thought that prior history played into the call. "The thing that's maybe a little disappointing is when you make those kind of calls, you have to be 100 percent sure. And when you look back at the replay, it's not even close. So that's disappointing, because that's a 1-1 hockey game at that point. But certainly not the reason that we lost the game tonight. There was a heck of a lot more to it than that."
That was unarguably a bad call, but the Bruins still have to be able to overcome such adversity. Instead, they fell apart, lost their discipline and never threatened to get back in the game as the Sabres piled up the goals.
And pile them up they did. The Bruins allowed a season-high six goals on the night. Starter Tuukka Rask gave up the first three before being pulled early in the second, but the change did little to stem the tide as Tim Thomas surrender three as well.
"It went from good to bad to worse," Julien said. "That's basically what happened to us tonight. Tough call against us when that goal was taken back from us. Then they scored the second and third goals. We probably needed some saves at that time to keep us in the game and we didn’t get them. It just was a big hole to come back from and things just started getting worse. Guys started getting away from the game plan and it just got worse. Frustration just caught up to us, and when it does, it doesn't help our hockey club."
The Bruins will need to help themselves, and quickly. They are now just 5-6-1 in their last 12 games, and return home to face a red-hot Nashville club on Saturday.