The Boston Bruins did a lot of good things in their first game after the Olympic break against the Buffalo Sabres. But that wasn’t enough to beat the NHL’s worst team.
The Bruins were uneven in their first game since Feb. 8, and too many ill-timed mistakes cost the B’s in a 5-4 overtime loss to the lowly Sabres. Boston does get a point out of the disappointing defeat, but few — if any — teams in the NHL would be happy to settle for salvaging a point against Buffalo.
There’s going to be plenty to pick through for Boston head coach Claude Julien as his team gets set for a couple of days of practice before opening its March slate, which will feature 17 games. But despite the disappointing outcome, it wasn’t all gloom and doom for the Black and Gold in Buffalo.
Here’s a look at some of the good — and bad — from Wednesday night’s loss to Buffalo.
Good: B’s winger Loui Eriksson had a really strong game. He was denied by Jhonas Enroth in the second period, but Eriksson tied for a team-high five shots on goal and looked to build off a strong Olympics performance.
Bad: The Bruins had way too many breakdowns. It started on the first goal, when Torey Krug got worked over during a puck battle in the corner before Zemgus Girgensons was fed in front with a centering pass from the corner. It didn’t help that the Bruins forgot about Girgensons in the corner.
Bad: This performance won’t be on Chad Johnson’s career highlight reel. Two of the goals allowed — Brian Flynn’s goal in the second period and Matt D’Agostini’s game-winner — were shots Johnson needs to stop. He didn’t, and that’s a big reason why the Bruins couldn’t come away with two points.
Good: The Bruins’ power play continues to be a big weapon for them. The B’s used the man-advantage to score twice, and they did so in different ways. First, Zdeno Chara’s relentless effort in front allowed him to jam a puck by Enroth. Later, Torey Krug’s effort to keep the puck alive in the offensive end eventually led to Milan Lucic’s go-ahead goal.
Good: Eriksson’s line was probably the Bruins’ best. Chris Kelly scored his second goal in as many games to get the B’s on the board in the first, but what that line did before the goal was most impressive. That shift woke the Bruins up. Eriksson, Kelly and Carl Soderberg were relentless in the Buffalo zone, keeping the puck in. Soderberg eventually made a gorgeous no-look, behind-the-back pass to Kelly from behind the goal line that Kelly buried for the tally.
Bad: The Bruins lost, and they lost a game they should have won. Once again, they were burned late, as they allowed Buffalo to score with 52.3 seconds to play in the third. Then an errant Eriksson pass got away from a gassed Chara, and D’Agostini was off to the races. D’Agostini scored the game-winner in overtime — another shot Johnson probably should have had — and a potentially good win turned into a bad loss, now matter how many positives there were.