Final, Sabres 3-2: And that's it for this one. The B's looked their best with time winding down in the third, and Tuukka Rask held strong (and even contributed some offense) through two periods, but it wasn't enough.
That first fluke goal really hurt the Bruins in terms of momentum, and then Buffalo notched two goals in about a minute midway through the second to put this one out of reach early.
Scoring for the Bruins was David Krejci; scoring for Buffalo was Rookie of the Year candidate Tyler Myers (who tallied a two-point game, as he also notched an assist), Paul Gaustad and Tim Kennedy.
Third period, 1:03, Sabres 3-2: B's have pulled Tuukka Rask.
Third period, 5:37, Sabres 3-2: Wow. The Bruins certainly got that good bounce they were looking for.
Dennis Seidenberg tees one up from just inside the blue line and it bounces awkwardly on Ryan Miller's shoulder. As soon as it bounces, Zdeno Chara and the Sabres defenders crash the net and the puck inches over the line for a goal.
Tuukka Rask gets the assist, his third of the season.
The Garden is louder than it's been all night (even louder than when Tim Thomas was pulled).
Third period, 8:15, Sabres 3-1: So I may have lied earlier. This season, the Sabres are 26-0-0 when leading after the second period.
Third period, 12:28, Sabres 3-1: Patrice Bergeron feeds a perfect cross-ice pass to Marco Sturm, but yet again, the shot is just off the mark. Boston's opportunities have been there, for sure.
Third period, 14:15, Sabres 3-1: Tuukka Rask makes another excellent save, just tipping the puck off the edge of his foot on the stick side and deflecting it off the boards the other way. He's been very solid, and Buffalo has certainly had some chances.
The flow of this period is looking more like the beginning of the first than the second. Still, though, I kind of feel like I'm watching the end of the Kentucky-West Virginia game, when even thought the Wildcats started coming back and turning it up a notch, you knew it was just too little, too late.
But I could be wrong.
Third period, 19:25, Sabres 3-1: Underway in the third, and the power play is successfully killed off by Buffalo. (The Sabres boast the third-best PK unit in the NHL.)
More unfortunate news for Bruins fans: They are 2-16-0 this season in games in which they have given up the first two or more goals. When they have trailed by two or more at some point in a game, they are 3-22-0.
End of second period, Sabres 3-1: The B's take some half-hearted booing from the crowd as they head off the ice. There will be about 13 seconds left on the power play when they return.
Tuukka Rask held strong in the second after replacing Tim Thomas, making 14 saves. On the other end, though, Ryan Miller is certainly living up to his billing, saving 24 of 25 shots.
It feels like the Bruins have nothing in terms of momentum right now — they seemed to get it back for a little while after killing off Marco Sturm's penalty, but the defense looks constantly on edge, the offense isn't clicking and everything about the Sabres is.
Second period, 1:47, Sabres 3-1: Dennis Wideman takes a cross-ice pass from Mark Stuart and fires it toward the net, but there are too many bodies and Ryan Miller gets a knee on top of the puck.
Then, seconds later, the Bruins get a rebound right outside the crease — and Miller makes the save of the night, bobbling once with his glove before securing the puck.
The B's will get their second power-play chance, though, as Derek Roy is whistled for hooking.
Second period, 2:54, Sabres 3-1: Tuukka Rask makes a great save right in the middle of the B on his jersey, but he lets a dangerous rebound fall right in front of him in the crease … but fortunately, Boston's blue line sweeps it out of the way before the Sabres can get to it.
Second period, 4:23, Sabres 3-1: After a rare turnover in the Sabres offensive zone, Marco Sturm comes in on Ryan Miller and fires in a shot, gets his own rebound and tries to pound it in but can't get a handle on the puck before the Buffalo defender gets a handle on him.
He goes crashing into the boards while the puck goes back toward Boston's net.
Boston still owns the shot advantage, 26-20.
Second period, 7:13, Sabres 3-1: Lots of back and forth action since that Buffalo power play; the PK might've been enough to put the bounce back in Boston's step, something that just hasn't been there since the middle of the first.
Amidst it all, though, Drew Stafford puts Tuukka Rask to the test, firing a one-timer from the right circle. Rask deflects it off his pad and Boston clears it.
Second period, 8:13, Sabres 3-1: With 21 seconds left in the power play, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg nail Jochen Hecht in front of the net as he tries to drill the puck past Tuukka Rask. That earns an appreciative uproar from the home crowd.
And the power play is killed off. The Bruins still own the shot advantage, 22-19.
Second period, 10:47, Sabres 3-1: Marco Sturm gets two minutes for hooking, giving Buffalo its first power play of the game.
Second period, 13:52, Sabres 3-1: And the Sabres keep coming. Dennis Seidenberg gives it away to Drew Stafford on the blue line, then Tim Kennedy takes a perfect cross-ice pass from Stafford just inside the right circle and eludes Tim Thomas for his ninth goal of the season.
Derek Roy also gets his 39th assist of the season.
And with that, Thomas' night is over. Tuukka Rask takes the ice, and the crowd is the loudest it's been all night.
Thomas finishes with 10 saves, and three goals allowed.
Second period, 14:00, Sabres 2-1: The power play is killed off. Boston's best opportunity came with about 30 seconds left, when Dennis Wideman teed one up from the slot but was tripped up in traffic as his shot was deflected.
With 23 seconds left, Milan Lucic dropped the gloves with Craig Rivet right in front of the net as Rivet came in hard against him.
Second period, 16:13, Sabres 2-1: Jochen Hecht thwarted a perfect opportunity for Boston. Blake Wheeler found Michael Ryder across the crease with a perfect pass, but Hecht got in between Ryder and the net.
And now, the B's get their first power-play opportunity of the night, as today's call-up Mark Mancari heads into the box for holding.
Second period, 19:50, Sabres 2-1: We're underway in the second.
Fun fact: Marco Sturm is now 1-for-6 on penalty shots in his career and 1-for-5 as a Bruin. He has taken the most penalty shots in team history.
And in unfortunate news, the Bruins are 5-19-3 this season when trailing after one. The Sabres are 18-3-2 when leading after one.
Thomas is still in net, a surprise to some.
End of first period, Sabres 2-1: Well, it started out promising for Boston and quickly turned.
After David Krejci tallied the first goal of the game, the Sabres were the beneficiaries of a fluky goal that bounced over Blake Wheeler's skate and eluded Tim Thomas. After that, the B's never really recovered, falling flat offensively and allowing the Sabres too many opportunities, one of which went in, courtesy of Paul Gaustad.
Sabres rookie Tyler Myers has had a hand in both Buffalo goals and has really made Tim Thomas work for it so far.
Still, Boston ended up outshooting the Sabres 14-11, but the vast majority of those shots were weighted toward the first half of the period.
First period, 2:01, Sabres 2-1: The puck has been living in Buffalo's offensive zone for about a minute and a half, and it culminates with a Henrik Tallinder bomb from the point that — fortunately for Tim Thomas — is off the mark. Ever since that fluky first Buffalo goal, the B's have looked very shaky.
First period, 8:10, Sabres 2-1: Yikes. A streaking Tyler Myers fires one in from the right circle and Tim Thomas initially makes a great stop on it with his pad — but he deflects it right back out in front of the net, where Paul Gaustad picks it up and drills it right by him. Buffalo is making the most of those second chances.
Thomas has looked pretty shaky tonight — nothing like the shutout form he displayed on Saturday.
Myers and Mike Grier get the assists.
First period, 9:56, 1-1: And Buffalo quickly ties things up, as the puck bounces over Blake Wheeler's skate right in front of the net and takes a weird bounce. Rookie of the Year Tyler Myers gets the goal.
It was a Mark Stuart pass that went awry and resulted in the goal for Buffalo. Bad bounce for the B's.
First period, 11:08, Bruins 1-0: Since going scoreless through seven games, Chara now has points in four straight games.
First period, 12:13, Bruins 1-0: Good news for Boston — the Bruins score first. David Krejci brings the puck around behind the net on the right side, then dekes it in as Miller loses sight of it. That's his eighth point in his last 10 games.
Zdeno Chara gets the assist.
First period, 12:55: Steve Begin's wraparound bid doesn't penetrate, but during that shift, the B's do a great job getting to the net and putting the pressure on.
First period, 14:09: Buffalo gets its first good chance, as Tyler Myers' one-timer from the left circle gets caught up in traffic in front of the net.
In a little over a minute, the Sabres have reeled off three shots on goal.
First period, 15:47: The B's are putting some good early pressure on Ryan Miller, but luckily for Buffalo, he's holding up. Boston owns the shot advantage 5-1.
First period, 17:13: David Krejci picks up the puck just outside the right circle and fires a one-timer on net but it's off the mark. Another good early opportunity.
A minute later, Marco Sturm finds himself streaking down the left side in a breakaway and coming into the net, he gets tripped up and draws a penalty shot.
And fires it right at Miller's knees.
First period, 18:24: A turnover in the Sabres offensive zone leads to an early opportunity for the Bruins, but Marco Sturm's shot is saved by Ryan Miller.
After a faceoff in the left circle, Vladimir Sobotka lays a nasty hit on a Sabre at center ice which draws an appreciative cheer from the home crowd.
6:59 p.m.: Healthy scratches for Bruins are Trent Whitfield and Brad Marchand.
6:43 p.m.: Lines are in for the Bruins:
Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–David Krejci–Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic–Vladimir Sobotka–Miroslav Satan
Daniel Paille–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara–Dennis Seidenberg
Mark Stuart–Dennis Wideman
Matt Hunwick–Johnny Boychuk
The Sabres made some call-ups today — former BC Hobey Baker candidate Nathan Gerbe, plus Mark Mancari.
4:12 p.m.: NESN.com's James Murphy reported that Thomas will be getting the nod tonight. Murph has also noted that Andrew Ference (groin) will miss his second straight game.
Thomas is coming off a 31-save shutout of the Flames on Saturday, and it appears as though Claude Julien
will be riding his hot goaltender. Tuukka Rask's last appearance was a
disappointment for the B's, as the 23-year-old stopped just 13 shots in
a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
8 a.m.: Following Saturday's 5-0 dismantling of the Calgary Flames, morale is at a high in the Bruins' locker room — but with the Sabres visiting TD Garden on Monday night, that could change swiftly.
The Sabres are perhaps the only team in the league that could come into Monday's matchup riding a bigger high than Boston, after clinching a playoff berth on Saturday for the first time in three years with a 7-1 pounding of Tampa Bay. Backup goaltender Patrick Lalime made 22 saves in a game that saw Buffalo post its largest offensive output since Jan. 18. Derek Roy recorded his fourth NHL hat trick as the surging Sabres won their fifth game in six tries.
The Bruins spent Saturday morning getting reacquainted with injured center Marc Savard, who spoke to the media and visited the locker room for the first time since suffering a concussion on March 7. The meeting must have put a little something extra in the Bruins' steps, as they came out and scored the first goal — a relative recipe for success for them — and added four more en route to their fourth win in six tries. Tim Thomas recorded the shutout — his fifth of the year — in his first start since being pulled after the first frame of a demoralizing loss to New Jersey on March 15. Five different Bruins scored for an offense that has posted 12 goals in its last three games.
Also coming to life on Saturday was the Bruins' typically anemic power play, which broke out of an 0-for-22 slump to score three times against the Flames.
The win allowed Boston to sneak into a seventh-place tie with Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference standings.
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