Bruins-Sabres Live: Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller Help Buffalo to 7-4 Win Over B’s

Tuukka Rask

Final, Sabres 7-4: It was supposed to be about the big boys doing some damage, but in the end, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller stole the show.

For the Bruins, it’s a tough loss to take, but it was bound to happen at some point.

We’re heading downstairs to get some reaction.

Third period, 19:46, Sabres 7-4: Sabres add one more for good measure, this time it’s Jason Pominville with the empty-netter.

Third period, 18:29, Sabres 6-4: Thomas Vanek is having himself a season, and he is having himself a game.

The forward just completed a hat-trick and is working on a five-point night after he cleans up in front of the Bruins net, waits and goes to the backhand to score the insurance goal. Obviously things don’t look good for the Bruins.

Third period, 17:30, Sabres 5-4: The Bruins got a handful of chances on the power play, but Ryan Miller has been on another planet in the third period.

He made another highlight-reel save, this time waiting out Patrice Bergeron who had a beauty of a chance on the doorstep, but Miller made the glove save.

Third period, 11:56, Sabres 5-4: Seconds after the Buffalo double-minor, Dennis Seidenberg is called for tripping, putting the Boston power play temporarily on hold.

Third period, 11:25, Sabres 5-4: The Bruins aren’t going to go down without a fight.

They just came hard after Ryan Miller, and it resulted in a pair of scoring chances for Zdeno Chara. The big defenseman couldn’t score a wraparound goal but the B’s were able to control the rebound and gain possession. Chara cycled around to the other side of the ice, came through the faceoff circle and was geared up for a one-timer. He blasted it on net, but Ryan Miller went from his right to his left to make the save.

Play ends with a Johnny Boyhcuk blast that Miller freezes.

However, the B’s get a break when Tyler Myers catches Daniel Paille with a high stick that goes as the four-minute variety.

Third period, 6:54, Sabres 5-4: The Sabres’ top line of Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville has been something else this season. They’re at it again here in the third.

This time, Vanek gets his second helper of the night when he sends a hard pass through the slot which Hodgson just pounds by Tuukka Rask.

That’s two goals the B’s have allowed in the third now, after not allowing a single goal in the third period through the first six games.

By the way, Dougie Hamilton has returned to the bench and the game. So there’s that.

Third period, 6:24, 4-4: It’s a pretty frantic pace here so far, and it’s leaving the Bruins little banged up.

Patrice Bergeron eventually returned to the bench and to the ice. Just a couple of minutes later, though, Dougie Hamilton skated off very slowly. He went straight down the tunnel and presumably back to the room.

Busy night for the B’s training staff so far.

Third period, 2:28, 4-4: The Bruins’ lead was short-lived to say the least — only 37 seconds.

Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko found Alexander Sulzer who blasted a one-timer by Tuukka Rask, beating him over the glove hand.

Third period, 1:45, Bruins 4-3: David Krejci just tried to one-up Brad Marchand’s goal from earlier with a beauty of his own.

Krejci carried the puck through the neutral zone, went around Jordan Leopold, waited and then finally took the shot beating Ryan Miller.

Third period, 1:08, 3-3: Patrice Bergeron suffers what looks to be an arm injury and leaves the ice right away. He heads down the tunnel in a hurry.

Second period reaction: That was a pretty interesting second period to say the least.

Things have picked up in terms of scoring, that’s for sure, with six goals between the two teams in the second 20 minutes.

Let’s start with the first Brad Marchand goal. It was a thing of beauty, as the Bruins forward made turnstiles out of two Buffalo defensemen, before showing off his stellar hands around the net. He’s having himself a night, adding another goal just 3:10 later.

Give the Sabres credit, though. They have battled back, and it’s thanks in large part to Thomas Vanek. He got the first Buffalo goals and then assisted on the third. He now has 27 goals and 25 assists in 45 carer games against the Bruins.

I’ve really liked what I’ve seen out of the Bruins’ third line. They scored their first goal of the season, and it just so happened with Daniel Paille moved up to that line. It’s a line that can fly, no doubt, but they’ve also done a good job upon getting in the attacking zone.

It should be a very interesting third period. The B’s have outscored their opponents 7-0 in the third period this season. They’ve also won their last 43 games in which they’ve had a two-goal lead, which is what they had after going up 3-1.

End second period, 3-3: The second period comes to end with nothing to report on, and the teams head to the room knotted at 3.

Second period, 18:19, 3-3: The momentum the Bruins had built up is gone.

Thomas Vanek, who was getting pushed down by Andrew Ference in front of the Boston net, makes an incredible play to dish it to Tyler Ennis before Ennis goes high to beat Tuukka Rask.

This game is tied.

Second period, 16:46, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins’ penalties do come back to hurt them.

Thomas Vanek scores yet again, this time on the power play, as he deflects a slap pass from Christian Erhoff by Tuukka Rask.

That still leaves the Lucic penalty to kill off.

Second period, 15:45, Bruins 3-1: Milan Lucic plants Alexander Suzler into the boards, but apparently, No. 17 in black crossed the line.

He’s going off for boarding.

It gets worse for the B’s, too. Zdeno Chara gets called for holding at the end of the play, and now the Bruins will have to kill off a 5-on-3 for two minutes.

Second period, 10:56, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins strike again, and again, it’s Brad Machand doing the honors.

The B’s looked to have a solid scoring chance when Tyler Seguin found Patrice Bergeron for a one-timer. That was turned aside by Ryan Miller, but he couldn’t control his rebound. The second chance went right to Marchand who beat Miller five-hole for his second of the night and his fifth of the season.

The “Millllll-errr” chants have started, and they get louder and louder with each goal.

Second period, 7:43, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins are the beneficiaries of some awful hockey from the Sabres’ defense.

First, it’s a sloppy pass into the neutral zone that Patrice Bergeron picked off, and he found Brad Marchand entering the zone. The forward then stickhandled around Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold before putting a backhanded shot by Ryan Miller for arguably the prettiest Bruins goal of the young season.

Second period, 5:12, 1-1: The third line has undergone some changes, and it has paid off in this one.

Daniel Paille gets a shot on Ryan Miller, which creates a rebound into the slot where Rich Peverley was waiting. Somehow, through a sea of bodies, Peverley was able to pick the corner in the top-left to tie the game.

Following the faceoff, the third line got another scoring chance, which was stoned by Miller. The All-Star covered the puck,  and things got testy after the whistle.

Peverley ends up taking a cross-checking penalty, though.

Second period, 1:38, Sabres 1-0: The line of Cody Hodgson, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek has started hot this season, and they have kept things going in this one.

Vanek takes a pass from Hodgson and blasts it by Tuukka Rask.

The play started when Zdeno Chara had some problems with the puck at the Buffalo blue line, which started the breakout for Sabres. It also left the B’s vulnerable on the break, as Buffalo took advantage of what turned into a 2-0n-1.

First period reaction: The Bruins and Sabres didn’t waste any time going at it. Shawn Thornton and John Scott went at it their first time on the ice, and because of it, Thornton won’t return.

End first period, 0-0: The Bruins got a couple of more shots at the end of the period, but nothing to show for it. Ryan Miller looks on so far.

Zdeno Chara blasted a shot from the right point, but Miller turned it aside with his left leg pad, and David Krejci couldn’t corral the rebound in time.

We’ll be back in a few minutes with some reaction to the first 20.

First period, 18:04, 0-0: It’s another failed power play for the Bruins, but once again, it looked competent at least.

Milan Lucic got yet another chance on the doorstep, and he was denied yet again by Ryan Miller.

This is Miller’s first appearance in Boston since Lucic ran him over, so this is a little bit of revenge no doubt.

First period, 15:36, 0-0: The action has picked up some.

First, it was David Krejci setting up Nathan Horton with a neat through-the-legs pass, but Horton missed the net.

That led to a transition for Jason Pominville, but he was turned aside by a pretty toe save from Tuukka Rask.

On the next shift, John Scott somehow (he is 6-foot-8 after all) was able to sneak behind the defense. He was out all one and put a shot right into Rask’s chest. A few seconds later he picked up an elbowing penalty.

First period, 12:43, 0-0: Nothing to show for the Bruins on the power play, but not for a lack of chances.

The best came when Patrice Bergeron found Milan Lucic in the slot from behind the net, but Ryan Miller made himself a nice pad save to turn away the best chance for the B’s thus far.

Also worth noting that Shawn Thornton went down the tunnel to the dressing room after leaving the penalty box. He certainly got fed a couple of big right hands from John Scott, so it makes sense that he would at least need some repairs. We’ll keep an eye on it.

First period, 8:29, 0-0: The Bruins get their first chance on the power play in this one.

Jordan Leopold is sent to the penalty box for slashing Nathan Horton.

First period, 6:24, 0-0: No real decided advantage in terms of gaining momentum off of the fight.

The Bruins’ third line has looked pretty good early on, with the addition of Daniel Paille. The former Sabre just had himself a scoring opportunity as he took a pass from Rich Peverley into the Buffalo zone, but his shot whistled wide. Not sure if that was tipped in front or not.

First period, 2:53, 0-0: On the first shift from both John Scott and Shawn Thornton, they waste no time dropping gloves. Their mitts hit the ice before the puck did.

Scott, who has the height advantage by a lot, took it to Thornton, landing a handful of rights.

First period, 0:01, 0-0: It’s go time at the Garden. Thanks for joining.  Buckle up, it should be a dandy.

7:02 p.m.: If you’re looking for fireworks off the opening faceoff, you might be out of luck.

The Sabres will start Steve Ott’s line with him centering Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, while the Bruins will go Patrice Bergeron alongside Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand to start.

6:48 p.m.: Pregame skate has wrapped up.

As expected, it’s Daniel Paille on the third line, with Lane MacDermid on the fourth.

Adam McQuaid is back, and he looks to be paired with Andrew Ference. Dougie Hamilton is skating with Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara gets paired with Johnny Boychuk.

That means Chris Bourque and Aaron Johson are your healthy scratches.

6:34 p.m.: The teams have taken the ice for pregame warmups.

No surprises, either, as Tuukka Rask and Ryan Miller lead the two teams out. They will be your starting goaltenders for this one.

6:05 p.m.: We’re up on Level 9 of the Garden, high above the ice where we’re about an hour away from getting going.

Just looking through the quote sheet from Claude Julien’s morning press session, and here are a couple of highlights.

Julien said he spoke with Chris Bourque about sitting him out for this game at least, and he said it was a “good conversation.” Julien also said that Bourque seems to be “putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, certainly not the Chris that we know.”

Of course, it works out well for Julien that Lane MacDermid, a tough guy to say the least, is available and will be in there for this one against a Buffalo team that may be looking to goon it up.

By the way, Daniel Paille will move up to skate with the third line in Bourque’s place, while MacDermid will skate on Gregory Campbell’s fourth line, making it one of the toughest in all of hockey.

Julien wasn’t sure who would take Bourque’s spot on the power play.

Julien says that he doesn’t see much different out of Buffalo right now. ” They’re playing the same way they always have,” he said, adding, “They love to get their D’s involved in the attack, they’ve got good goaltending [and] they’re a pretty solid team.”

5:30 p.m.: Good early evening from TD Garden in Boston where, hopefully, we’re in for a doozy tonight.

Much has already been made about the story lines for this one — many of them wrapped around any sort of fisticuffs we may be in for — so let’s get right down to those.

We’ll do that in the form of links, of course.

There was some bad blood between these two teams last season dating back to the infamous Lucic-Miller fun. Here’s a look at all of the fights between these two clubs last year.

John Scott is in the house. A couple of years ago he said he would “kick the [expletive]“ out of Thornton. That means those two could do some battling.

There is no doubt that Tuukka Rask is a No. 1 goaltender.

We’ll be heading upstairs in a little bit, where we’ll take the nightly skate around the league.

The Sabres bulked up this past offseason, but Lindy Ruff says that Buffalo’s main motivation wasn’t to get tougher to stand up to the B’s.

Noon: According to head coach Claude Julien, Lane MacDermid is going to be in tonight against the Sabres, taking Chris Bourque’s spot.

Paille will be bumped up to third line with Kelly and Peverley while MacDermid will take a flank on the fourth line.

Also, Rask was off first, likely meaning he’s between the pipes. -JB

8 a.m. ET: The Bruins are already one-eighth of the way into their season, but they’ve yet to take on any Northeast Division rivals. That will change on Thursday night when they welcome the Buffalo Sabres to town.

The B’s and Sabres will renew what’s become one of the game’s better rivalries at TD Garden on Thursday night. The B’s are flying high, entering the game with a 5-0-1 record, fresh off a big shootout win over the Devils on Tuesday.

While the Bruins are right where they want to be, the Sabres are struggling out of the gates. They’ll enter Thursday’s clash in last place in the Northeast, with a 2-3-1 record in their first six games. The Sabres had a strong two-game start to the season with wins over the Flyers and Maple Leafs, but they haven’t won since, their most recent setback coming Tuesday night in overtime with a loss to the Leafs.

The Sabres may be without agitating forward Patrick Kaleta on Thursday night. He suffered what Lindy Ruff described as a neck injury Tuesday night, an injury that actually sent Kaleta to the hospital.

Kaleta usually plays a key role in Bruins-Sabres games that have gotten a little bit more intense in the past couple of years. Much of that circled around the Milan Lucic hit on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller in a game last fall. The Sabres didn’t respond in that game, and were justly criticized for it. It’s probably safe to assume that the same thing won’t happen anymore, especially when you look at what the Sabres did this offseason. They added John Scott, one of the league’s toughest and biggest enforcers, as well as Steve Ott, who is no stranger to the Bruins from his days in Dallas.

Add it all up, and it figures to be an entertaining tilt from the Garden. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m., and we’ll have you covered with updates throughout the day.