We’ll have much more on this game in just a bit.
Third period, 19:11, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins survive a late push from the Sabres, and they get the empty-net insurance goal.
Milan Lucic does the honors after David Krjeci passes it up to him to give the B’s the lead, which they should be able to hold on to.
Third period, 14:10, Bruins 2-1: It should be 3-1 right now, but the Sabres have Ryan Miller to thank for it not being a two-goal deficit.
Patrice Bergeron stole the puck in the Sabres’ zone after a careless pass from Andrej Sekera and looked to have had an aggressive Miller beat. However, Miller was somehow able to come up with a crazy pad save, with his legs up in the air.
I’m still not sure how he was able to come up with that save, but he did, and the Sabres are still improbably in this game.
Third period, 8:42, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins’ power-play unit scores a goal — in real life.
Patrice Bergeron was kicked out of the faceoff dot, but it ends up benefiting the B’s. Rich Peverley stepped in and won the faceoff. Bergeron controlled and passed it back to Chris Bourque who took a shot that was deflected wide.
The ricochet goes right to Bergeron in the left slot, and flips one on net and beats Ryan Miller over his right shoulder.
Third period, 6:58, 1-1: It looks like the Bruins are going to go on another power play, as Mike Weber gets the delay-of-game penalty for flipping the puck over the glass.
Third period, 6:00, 1-1: The Bruins came out with a jump in the third period, and they got a couple of good chances to start the period.
Milan Lucic was robbed with a stick save by Ryan Miller, and then Tyler Seguin saw a potential goal taken away by a glove save from Miller.
The Sabres weathered that storm, and took it to the B’s in their own zone some, but nothing came of it. Miller has been dominant, as the Bruins have dominated play, but Anton Khudobin is doing a nice job himself.
Second period reaction: How many different ways can we have the power play discussion? Do we just let it go at this point?
More often than not, the Bruins are able to make up for it by playing well in each of the other facets of the game. But this time, the Sabres got a jump out of killing the last penalty, and that led to the Buffalo goal.
It was nice, however, to see Brad Marchand score a goal in his return to the B’s lineup. If he’s still suffering any ill effects from that injury, he hasn’t shown it yet. He scored that goal, which is always nice, but he’s also been busy in some post-whistle scraps doing what he does best — getting under the opposition’s skin. It works even better, it seems, when guys like Patrick Kaleta and Steve Ott are on the other side.
The B’s aren’t short on chances through 40 minutes, but they are short on goals, thanks to Ryan Miller. He’s one of the best in the world for a reason, and he’s showed it so far in this one. The Bruins have peppered him with 26 shots, and they only have the one goal to show for it.
End second period, 1-1: The second period comes to an end with some more chippy play.
But the Bruins’ power-play struggles remain a key storyline, as the Bruins can’t get anything done with the man-advantage. It came back to bite them big time, with the momentum gained by Buffalo leading to the Tyler Ennis goal.
Second period, 18:01, 1-1: The ineptitude on the power play comes back to bite the Bruins in a big way.
Just a few seconds after the Sabres kill off the penalty, the Sabres outwork the B’s to tie the game up.
Boston gets sloppy in its own zone, and Tyler Ennis takes full advantage of that, along with a nice pass from Drew Stafford across the slot, and beats Anton Khudobin to the game 1-1.
Second period, 15:41, Bruins 1-0: It’s been a period full of special teams play, and it’s once again the Bruins will get another penalty.
This one is courtesy of Mike Weber, who gets called for the trip.
Second period, 14:00, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins easily kill off the Brad Marchand penalty.
A few shifts later it’s Tyler Seguin coming hard down the right side and firing a shot toward the top left corner, but he just misses the net and it goes wide.
Second period, 11:35, Bruins 1-0: Brad Marchand gets sent to the penalty box for an infraction of a new rule in the NHL this season.
Marchand took a faceoff in the offensive zone and gloved it as he tried to corral the puck. It was originally ruled a hand pass, but the new rule doesn’t allow the center to play the puck with his hand.
Second period, 9:28, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins continue to bring it in this one and in the second period.
If just about anyone but Ryan Miller was in the opposite net, it would be much worse for Buffalo than 1-0 right now.
Second period, 7:10, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins finally solve the riddle that is Ryan Miller.
Brad Marchand uncorks one from the left side, and the traffic in front allows his shot to beat Miller for the first goal of the game.
Marchand let it be known that he scored, too, as he looked toward the Buffalo bench with a finger up to his nose.
Second period, 6:43, 0-0: Once again, it’s nothing for the Boston power play.
The B’s have squandered three chances in the second period already, with a 5-on-3 counted among those missed chances.
Brad Marchand got a dandy of a chance when the Sabres were in the middle of a line change, but Christian Erhoff made a sensational play coming off the Buffalo bench and chasing down Marchand and breaking up the chance.
Other than that, Ryan Miller has been terrific so far.
Second period, 4:13, 0-0: The 5-on-3 comes to an end, with nothing to show for it.
Still more than a minute for the Boston power play to cash in.
Second period, 3:24, 0-0: The Bruins’ power play will get an even better chance to get the game’s first goal.
Alexander Sulzer gets sent to the penalty box as well, and the B’s will have 41 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time.
Second period, 2:04, 0-0: The Bruins get nothing on the power play, but they do get another power play just a few seconds later.
Steve Ott gets sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct after getting tangled up with Brad Marchand after the whistle.
Second period, 0:01, 0-0: The second period is underway, with the Bruins on the power play.
End first period, 0-0: The first period comes to an end, but not after arguably the best shift of the period for the Bruins.
The Patrice Bergeron line, which now features Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand, got a few good chances against Ryan Miller and the Sabres. The Buffalo goalie didn’t have to make any highlight-reel saves during the shift, but he stopped what came his way and got some help from some blocked shots.
The Bruins’ pressure continued shortly thereafter when Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly crashed the net hard. Kelly really crashed the net hard — going crashing into the cage — after skating in on Miller. As he was doing so, Cody Hodgson got him with a slash with 2.5 seconds to play.
That means the Bruins will have almost a full power play on fresh ice to open the second period.
First period, 15:00, 0-0: This one hasn’t been short of action so far, with both teams getting some early chances.
The Bruins, despite starting hot, have actually been outshot 12-11 through the game’s first 15 minutes.
It doesn’t look like the Sabres have gotten an added jump from Kaleta’s decisive win in his fight against Campbell.
First period, 11:17, 0-0: The Bruins kill off the instigator penalty, and they almost get a goal out of the whole thing.
Chris Kelly and Zdeno Chara worked the puck through the neutral zone and ended up forming a 2-on-1 going the other way.
That led to Chara barreling down on Ryan Miller. The Bruins captain tried to beat Miller low on the goalie’s right, but Miller threw out the pad and turned away Chara’s wrist shot.
First period, 8:59, 0-0: Gregory Campbell ends up taking exception to, I’m guessing, just the way Patrick Kaleta plays the game of hockey.
Campbell goes after Kaleta and the two show down in the game’s first fight.
Despite landing one big left early on, it was all Kaleta in the fight. Campbell may have gotten one of his arms tied up, but Kaleta landed a handful of big punches.
Making matters worse is the fact that Campbell gets the two-minute instigator penalty.
First period, 5:38, 0-0: Boston comes out looking to prove that the last time these two teams was a little bit of a fluke.
The Seguin-Krejci-Lucic line has had a couple of good shifts thus far with a good rededication to the forecheck.
The Bruins as a team are doing a much better job of forechecking than they did the last time these two teams met or in the Bruins’ first 40 minutes on Wednesday against Montreal.
There’s also been some after-the-whistle pushing and shoving between the team’s fourth lines.
The latest came following a whistle in the Boston end where John Scott and Shawn Thornton got a little tied up. Patrick Kaleta, who has been a thorn in the Bruins’ side for just about his entire career, also got into it with Daniel Paille. There was some pushing and shoving, but nothing came of it.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: The Bruins and Sabres are under way, and finally Bruins hockey is back.
7:05 p.m.: Here’s your obligatory “Watch out for Thomas Vanek” entry.
Watch out for Thomas Vanek.
He’s got 28-26-54 totals in 46 career games against the Bruins, and he’s coming off of a hat trick and a five-point evening last time out against Boston.
So, yeah. Watch out for Thomas Vanek.
6:52 p.m.: Change of plans: It sounds like Brad Marchand will play, according to NESN’s Naoko Funayama.
6:46 p.m.: It sounds like Brad Marchand will need at least a couple more days before returning.
It appears that he was the odd man out in pregame line rushes, and that would likely indicate that he’ll miss another game.
It does sound like both Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille will be in the lineup for the Bruins.
6:40 p.m.: Dale Arnold just made an interesting point on the NESN pregame coverage.
Both he and Barry Pederson discussed this elbow delivered by Drew Stafford on Dougie Hamilton during the first meeting of these two teams.
It will be interesting to see if the B’s go out and try to defend their rookie teammate following that. However, you have to think it’s unlikely Stafford drops the gloves. He rarely does, and as we saw earlier in the season against Scott Hartnell, fighting isn’t really his thing.
6:30 p.m.: Both Shawn Thornton and Brad Marchand appeared to take the ice for pregame warm-ups for the Bruins. Daniel Paille was out there as well.
Anton Khudobin led the club out, indicating he’ll be in net for the Bruins. It looks like it will be Ryan Miller on the other end for the Sabres.
5:30 p.m.: Much has been made about this game being a rematch with not only the Sabres, but also with Buffalo enforcer John Scott.
Scott did his job last time these two teams met, taking it to Shawn Thornton, feeding the B’s forward with a steady diet of heavy fists.
Some are calling on the Bruins to somehow respond to that, but I’m not really buying into that school of thought.
If the Bruins really want to hurt the Sabres, it’s going to be on the scoreboard. This is a reeling Sabres team that, despite having won its last two games, finds itself sitting in the bottom of the Northeast Division. It makes more sense for the Bruins to help further that downfall, rather than risk sparking Buffalo by letting Scott do his thing.
And there’s obviously no point in someone like Milan Lucic or Zdeno Chara seeking Scott out. From a hockey standpoint, there are few, if any, players in the league who are less talented than Scott when it comes to anything but punching. So does it really make any sense at all for the Bruins to trade one of their best players for Scott for five minutes? No way. That’s not even taking into account that the last time the Bruins saw Scott, he concussed one of their players. That’s not something you want to risk having happen to one of your best players.
If Thornton is able to play, hopefully he leaves Scott alone, too. The last thing you’d probably want to do in your first game after a concussion is to fight a dude who is 6-foot-8 again.
2:40 p.m.: We mentioned that Claude Julien said the trio of injured Bruins were going to be game-time decisions, but the morning skate lines did reveal some things.
For those of you hoping to see Tyler Seguin and David Krejci paired together after the third period in Wednesday’s win over the Canadiens, you might be in luck.
Here are the lines the Bruins skated with during the morning skate.
Lucic/Marchand — Krejci — Seguin
Horton — Bergeron — Peverley
Bourque — Kelly — Tardif
Thornton — Campbell — MacDermid/Paille
2 p.m.: Good afternoon, Bruins fans.
Here’s hoping you’re all shoveled out and ready to go. Nothing like a hellacious blizzard to get you in the mood for hockey.
If you’re like me, you can barely move after two days of shoveling, snow removal and swerving around pedestrians walking down the middle of unpaved roads throughout the greater Boston area.
The teapot is on the burner and Red Wings-Kings is on the TV. As we wait for the howling sound from the kitchen, let’s get caught up on some nuggets out of Buffalo.
According to NESN’s own Naoko Funayama, it looks like Brad Marchand, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille will all be game-time decisions. So there’s not much news on that front apparently.
Claude Julien also said that the starter for this one has yet to be determined. However, Anton Khudobin was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate.
You could make the case for either goalie, though. Leaning toward Tuukka Rask makes sense given the B’s have now had a few days between games. But you could also make the case for getting Khudobin some work for the first time since Jan. 28. The schedule for this week isn’t totally daunting, with games Tuesday at home against the Rangers as well as road games on Friday and Sunday against Buffalo and Winnipeg, respectively.
Maybe the fact that Julien hasn’t revealed his decision yet means it will be Khudobin. That would allow Rask to go Tuesday and Friday against the Rangers and Sabres, with Khudobin perhaps getting the nod next Sunday against the Jets. That is nothing more than pure speculation, of course, and it’s probably 100 percent wrong.
8 a.m. ET: Compared to Boston, the Bruins head to a tropical climate for their Sunday night game — Buffalo.
The B’s have escaped the winter wonderland that is the Hub, one night after seeing their game with the Tampa Bay Lightning “snowed out” after almost 24 hours of pounding snow and wind in the latest blizzard to spank New England.
Now that the Bruins know they’re actually going to play a hockey game — barring something nutty again — they can focus on a pretty important game. Boston gets another chance at the Sabres, a little more than one week after suffering their first and only regulation loss of the season against the Sabres at the Garden on Jan. 31.
Claude Julien blasted his team following that game, calling his team’s defensive efforts “brain-dead” after allowing seven goals — including a Thomas Vanek hat trick — in a 7-4 loss.
That game also featured the long-awaited bout between Shawn Thornton and John Scott. There was no debating the winner, though, as Scott leveled Thornton with some big-time right hands. Those same right hands dealt Thornton a concussion from which he’s yet to return.
Thornton recently returned to practice and says he’s just about ready to go, so maybe he’ll make his return Sunday night in Buffalo. He’s not the only banged-up Bruin, though. Both Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille are up in the air when it comes to their status for Sunday night as well.
The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m. in Buffalo, and we’ll be here with updates throughout the day leading up to this important Northeast Division clash.