Live Blog: Bruins at Sabres

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November 20, 2009


Live Blog: Bruins at SabresEnd of game, Bruins 2-1: Well, there's a feel-good win for you. Not only did the B's persevere through overtime and a shootout on Thursday night, but they held strong despite falling behind in the first period of this one.

Milan Lucic notched the game-tying goal midway through the second and Patrice Bergeron tallied the winning goal less than a minute into overtime to help Boston earn the 2-1 win.

Backup goaltender Tuukka Rask was excellent for the second night in the row in the stead of an injured Tim Thomas, edging Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller (24 saves) and making 25 saves on 26 shots.

The B's get a well-deserved weekend off before taking on the Blues on Monday in St. Louis. Hopefully the momentum doesn't fade before then.

Overtime, 4:13, Bruins 2-1: Patrice Bergeron scores to get the Bruins the win — after scoring the decisive goal in Thursday night's shootout.

Zdeno Chara finds him in front of the net, and he sends a redirect past Miller to help the Bruins get off to a 2-0 start on this road trip.

End third period, 1-1: Well, we're headed to overtime for the second night in a row.

The B's are heading out of Buffalo with at least a point — definitely encouraging. It's nice to take a point however you can get it against the division leader.

Buffalo outshot Boston 15-6 in that period.

Third period, 2:02, 1-1: Patrick Kaleta finds himself racing out of the neutral zone into a one-on-one with Rask, who makes a right-pad stop.

Third period, 3:55, 1-1: Rask makes his 23rd save of the night with less than three minutes remaining in this deadlocked game. Talk about pressure.

Also, maybe I'm late on this one, but I'm a fan of the "Miller Time" inscription on the back of Ryan Miller's helmet.

Third period, 6:59, 1-1: Tuukka Rask makes one of his best saves of the game, a glove save on a shot by Tyler Myers in front of the net.

Third period, 9:19, 1-1: The Sabres are outshooting the Bruins 11-4 in this period but it really doesn't seem that way. The two seem pretty evenly matched.

Third period, 10:51, 1-1: Thomas Vanek charges and lifts one right at Tuukka Rask, but it's not close. Lots of back-and-forth action in this period; the offenses are having some trouble maintaining control of the puck, but it's making for some pretty exciting action.

Milan Lucic drives one just right of the post. Patrick Kaleta immediately comes back on the other end, but his shot is stopped.

Third period, 15:04, 1-1: David Krejci gets a perfect scoring opportunity, laying one right up on Ryan Miller on a stutter-step — and the puck gets caught right under Miller's leg before everyone piles on in front of the goal. Just about as close as you can get to a goal without actually getting it.

Third period, 17:20, 1-1: A couple of nice early saves for Tuukka Rask. Thomas Vanek finds himself right in front of the net and Rask robs him, catching sight of the puck and swatting it away — and Vanek catches someone's stick to the face afterward, but he's fine.

The pace is kind of manic right now; both squads came out of the gates aggressively.

Second intermission, 1-1: Whatever Claude Julien said to his troops during the last intermission worked. During the second period, we saw a complete role reversal in this one: The Bruins came out hungry and aggressive and outshot the Sabres 14-3 — and three is the fewest shots the B's allowed in a period this season.

Blake Wheeler is responsible for a lot of the offensive pressure. The young right-winger registered three shots on goal and made Sabres goalie Ryan Miller work for all 13 of his saves. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask did his best Ryan Miller-in-the-first-period imitation, saving all three of Buffalo's shots.

Boston evened the score at 1 on Milan Lucic's first goal since returning from injury, and ever since then, the Bruins have looked confident — a factor they were quite obviously missing in the first period. We'll see if the momentum can continue through the third.

Second period, 2:53, 1-1: The Sabres are gaining some momentum in the attacking zone; Patrick Kaleta takes a perfect cross-ice pass and puts a shot in on Tuukka Rask, but it doesn't get through.

The Ryder-to-Wheeler connection is really putting the pressure on Ryan Miller in the opposite zone, but Miller is holding strong — with little help from his defense.

Second period, 6:55, 1-1: Ryan Miller makes another one of those acrobatic leg saves, this time on a Michael Ryder shot. It results in a little scrum in front of the net, but nothing comes of it.

Minutes later, Blake Wheeler sends a cross-ice pass to Ryder in front of the net. He shoots and Miller makes another tremendous save.

Second period, 9:42, 1-1: (There's a goal at the bottom of this post, here. I promise.) Zdeno Chara tries to find Patrice Bergeron on a one-timer and it's off the mark, but Blake Wheeler gets a hold of the puck and really tries to pound it in, making Ryan Miller work for the save.

Chara sends a drive off Jason Pominville's leg and he's limping. He eventually makes his way off the ice. 

With time expiring in the man advantage, David Krejci finds Sturm right in front of the net and he tries to dump it in but Miller is there.

Make that 0-for-4 on the power play.

An injury update from the Sabres: Drew Stafford has a lower-body injury and may return. 

At 9:06, Milan Lucic welcomes himself back to action by grabbing the puck in his own zone and charging up ice with Byron Bitz, then taking a pass in stride from Bitz and putting it past Miller.

Second period, 14:01, Sabres 1-0: There's a lot of bodies in front of the Sabres net and Wheeler tees one up for David Krejci in front of the goal, but Derek Roy hooks him — and heads into the box.

Another power-play opportunity.

With about 10 seconds left in the power play, Zdeno Chara earns an interference call on Toni Lydman behind the net. This power play is over, but another one is cued up after the timeout.

Second period, 17:50, Sabres 1-0: Miller is tested again — Marco Sturm fires one at the net and Derek Morris gets the rebound but there's no getting through.

After the line change and some traffic in the Sabres zone, Vladimir Sobotka drives to the net and Miller makes another save — but the B's get a faceoff in their zone.

Second period, 19:41, Sabres 1-0: Ryan Miller makes two fantastic saves to start the second — one on a Byron Bitz shot, and one when Steve Begin gets the rebound and sends it in as well. He saves them both off his leg.

First intermission, Sabres 1-0: The Bruins' penalty kill has gotten a couple of chances to prove its worth tonight, and it's 1-for-2.

Given that the Sabres lead the league in power plays, they're going to have to hold strong plenty throughout the evening, so hopefully that first goal the PK allowed to Paul Gaustad was the exception rather than the rule. Maybe the unit was just getting into the groove again after playing against the Thrashers on Thursday night.

Tuukka Rask, making his second straight start in the absence of Tim Thomas, isn't looking bad — he has seven saves on eight shots. His opponent, Ryan Miller, has been solid, but he's only had to face three shots from a lackluster Bruins offense. The Sabres are also dominating faceoffs 11-3.

Time to shake off the rust and come out firing in the second.

Alternately, the Bruins power play needs to step it up. It's had two chances tonight and no goals to show for it.

First period, 2:02, Sabres 1-0: David Krejci is headed into the penalty box for boarding on Adam Mair.

The Sabres are No. 1 in the league in power plays per game.

Derek Roy wheels it wide in traffic with about 45 seconds remaining in the power play, and with 30 seconds left, Daniel Paille makes a nice clear. Patrick Kaleta sends one through the crease but there's nobody there.

It's cleared to the Boston zone and Blake Wheeler gets a good chance but there's nothing doing as time expires in the period.

First period, 4:27, Sabres 1-0: With about 10 seconds left in the power play, Wideman sends one well wide of the net — it's the best chance the B's get. The Sabres come away with the rebound and get a great scoring opportunity of their own but Rask makes a nice save off his leg.

First period, 7:08, Sabres 1-0: Patrice Bergeron gets a great look right in front of the net but sends it wide.

After the TV timeout, the Bruins go on the power play again on an interference call on Clarke MacArthur, a long way away from the net.

First period, 11:08, Sabres 1-0: Ryan Miller saves a Dennis Wideman wrist shot off his arm and the penalty is killed. The B's got some good chances but couldn't produce. Credit this one to a solid PK by the Sabres, though, not inefficiency by the Bruins.

First period, 13:15, Sabres 1-0: Michael Ryder looks to have a promising scoring chance as he takes to to the net and looks to be headed toward a one-on-one with Ryan Miller — but his pocket is picked by Matt Ellis.

Ellis heads into the box for hooking, so the B's power play gets a shot now.

Speaking of Miller, it would've been nice to see him square off against Tim Thomas, as they're both attempting to prove that they're the No. 1 choice in goal for the U.S. in the Olympics — but there was that whole undisclosed injury thing with Thomas. Oh, well.

First period, 16:08, Sabres 1-0: With a little over a minute and a half remaining in the power play, Rask robs Thomas Vanek — he's wide open after getting through Derek Morris.

But the B's solid performance is short lived; Rask surrenders a goal to Paul Gaustad on a redirect. It's his fifth of the year. The Buffalo power play is hereby over.

First period, 17:15, 0-0: Lots of bodies in front of the Bruins' goal. Tuukka Rask makes a couple of early saves down low.

Byron Bitz heads into the box for hooking, giving the Sabres the early man advantage. Time to put that brilliant B's penalty kill on display.

It's Bitz's second stint in the box this season.

First period, 19:25, 0-0: Milan Lucic starts things off on the right foot and asserts his presence by absolutely laying out Henrik Tallinder along the boards. 

7:36 p.m.: Lots of eyes on Daniel Paille tonight. The Sabres traded him to Boston earlier this season, and word on the street is that he fell out of favor with coach Lindy Ruff — and once you're on his bad side, there's no getting back on the good side. If he stayed in Buffalo, he wasn't going to see any playing time.

There doesn't seem to be any fan animosity toward Paille, so hopefully he can put on a good show for them — and for Boston — on Friday.

7:06 p.m.: Couple of updates, here — and neither of them are particularly good.

Marc Savard isn't playing against the Sabres. According to NESN's own Naoko Funayama, he admitted to being too eager to return and will have to play it safe by sitting out Friday's game. His new target for a return is Monday against St. Louis.

Also out with the injury bug is goaltender Tim Thomas, whose injury is undisclosed. Tuukka Rask will be in net against the Sabres, and Thomas also targets Monday for his return to the ice.

4:21 p.m.: Can the Bruins make it two in a row?

Let's take it one step at a time, here.

After Thursday night's 4-3 victory at Atlanta — which lost at home for the first time in four games — the B's are riding some momentum, so playing back-to-back games could prove advantageous. But we also know that the Bruins haven't proven they can string together sets of wins consistently, so hopefully Friday marks the beginning of a new trend for Boston.

If the Bruins are looking for a turnaround, things definitely got started on the right foot on Thursday night with the return of winger Milan Lucic, who missed over a month with a broken finger. He only registered two shots in Thursday's 4-3 shootout victory, but the mere presence of the bruiser in the lineup is a bit of a momentum boost for a Boston team that's been notorious for goal-scoring droughts.

Also on the comeback trail is last year's points leader, Marc Savard, who also missed over a month with a broken foot. He participated in Friday's morning skate but it is unclear whether or not he'll play.

We'll keep you posted on Savard's status and much more.

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