End of game, Bruins win 5-3: The Bruins finally showed the resilience they played with all last season but only parts of this season, coming back from a 2-0 deficit and then down 3-2 to start the third, to beat the Sabres 5-3.
Zdeno Chara and Michael Ryder had two goals apiece and Tuukka Rask made 26 saves to help the Bruins bring this series back to Boston tied at one.
Chara has been the giant not only physically, but also on the scoreboard in this series as he now has a goal and two assists, including the game-winning goal today. But maybe an even more encouraging sign has to be the reemergence of Michael Ryder, who after scoring two goals in the final game of the regular season, had two goals today and has looked like the sniper he looked like last season. The Bruins offense is obviously goal-starved, and if Ryder continues this, that will be huge for the B's.
Rask may have wanted the first goal back, but he recovered nicely after and saved the day on numerous Buffalo chances in the third period.
Mark Recchi had the empty-net goal to seal the victory, and now has two goals in the series.
Let's not forget the effective play of Vladimir Sobotka, who was crashing the net all day and got a helper on the Bruins' first goal. Blake Wheeler looked better in this game as well.
So the series is headed back to Boston tied at one and games 3 and 4 will be Monday and Wednesday at the TD Garden. The Sabres were 32-0-0 when leading after two periods, but the Bruins changed that, and now have the confidence that they can come from behind and win.
Patriots Day will hopefully be Bruins Day as well as the Black and Gold now have a chance to take their first lead in the series. Thanks for joining us here and see you Monday!
Third period, 1:07, Bruins 4-3: No one could've imagined the Bruins would be clinging to a lead here with just over a minute left in regulation, but they are. Time to bring it home 1-1 Bruins. You've earned it.
The Sabres have pulled Ryan Miller and called a timeout.
Third period, 2:50, Bruins 4-3: Just to point out the great job by Michael Ryder in finding the net, and that is a result of hard skating. When Ryder skates hard, he scores.
Third period, 4:17, Bruins 4-3: Earlier in the game, when the Sabres took a 2-0 lead, NBC play-by-play man Mike "Doc" Emerick questioned whether the Bruins should pull Tuukka Rask. Good thing they didn't because Rask has been superb and just made a huge stop on former BU star Mike Grier, who broke in alone with a chance to tie the game.
Third period, 6:10, Bruins 4-3: The Sabres are playing with plenty of desperation now, but they obviously miss Thomas Vanek.
Third period, 12:37, Bruins 4-3: The Bruins just won't quit, and they have tied the game on another goal by captain Zdeno Chara.
Chara has done a great job of getting shots through on Ryan MIller, and that's just what he did there. The puck may have gone off the shaft of Jason Pominville's stick, and Miller couldn't find it.
Unfortunately, the Bruins will have to kill off a penalty now as Shawn Thornton is in the box.
Third period, 13:47, 3-3: Michael Ryder has picked the best time to get hot after a down season as he just scored his second goal of the game and the Bruins have tied it again.
Andrew Ference, who collided with Ryder earlier in the period, picked up a helper, as did Blake Wheeler.
Third period, 16:00, Sabres 3-2: Michael Ryder and Andrew Ference are lucky they're ok after colliding.
Third period, 18:15, Sabres 3-2: The final frame is underway in Buffalo, and the Bruins will try to avoid going down 2-0 in the series.
End of second period, Sabres 3-2: Well, for the second game in a row, the Bruins outplayed the Sabres in the second period, tied the game and still trail by one as they head to the dressing room for the second intermission.
Claude Julien needs to give whatever speech he gave at the first intermission because the Bruins were a different team in the second period. The only negative is that they couldn't come away with the lead, or at least by tied. In Game 1, that failure to do so seemed to drain whatever momentum the B's had, and we shall see if they can recover from that. Boston's mental toughness has been questioned all season, and now it is being tested when it matters most, in the playoffs.
You have got to love the play of Patrice Bergeron as he tipped that puck over to Zdeno Chara for the game-tying goal, then turned the Buffalo defense inside out near the end of the period. He almost tied the game again for Boston. Bergeron looks like the man that was on a mission and led his team so valiantly this season.
The go-ahead goal for Buffalo was once again the result of sloppy play by Milan Lucic, who coughed up the puck and failed to use his size behind the Bruins net. Those plays need to stop, and Lucic needs to step it up.
Also, of note, Thomas Vanek will not return after injuring his knee in the first period. That could be a huge loss for the Sabres.
Second period, 3:19, Sabres 3-2: Bruins fans will be quick to blame Dennis Wideman on this one, but MIlan Lucic was guilty of a turnover and Jason Pominville picked up the garbage and beat Tuukka Rask for a 3-2 Sabres lead.
Tyler Ennis gets the helper and his first career playoff point.
Second period, 5:00, 2-2: Michael Ryder has played really well in these first two games, getting to the dirty areas and letting what Claude Julien calls "the best shot on the team" rip.
Second period, 7:00, 2-2: As expected, the Bruins' first goal has been credited to Michael Ryder, who got a stick on the puck at the last second. Vladimir Sobotka and Blake Wheeler get the helpers.
Second period, 10:06, 2-2: Zdeno Chara has done a great job of pitching in on the offense lately, and he has just tied the game for the Bruins mid-way through the second period.
A great job by Patrice Bergeron to drag Ryan Miller out of position, and Chara was there to bury it. Johnny Boychuk gets his first career playoff point with the secondary assist.
Second period, 11:33, Sabres 2-1: The Bruins couldn't score on the last power play and still trail 2-1. But they're controlling the play in the second period for the second straight game.
The B's are skating harder and creating more scoring chances in front of Ryan Miller
Second period, 13:56, Sabres 2-1: The Bruins are headed onto their second power play, and the momentum seems to be changing.
Second period, 17:25, Sabres 2-1: The Bruins have cut the lead in half early in the second period on a Vladimir Sobotka goal. Sobotka took a great feed from Blake Wheeler and the Bruins have life!
The B's finally threw that puck in front and Sobotka was there for the goal in pretty much the same area that Mark Recchi scored from Game 1.
Adam McQuaid got a helper as well and that's his first career playoff point.
Second period, 19:11, Sabres 2-0: The second period has started in Buffalo, and there is no sign of Thomas Vanek for the Sabres as he has not returned from a first period crash into the boards.
End of first period, Sabres 2-0: Zdeno Chara drilled Tyler Ennis into the Bruins bench as the first period ended, but that's about the only highlight the Bruins produced from the opening period. The Sabres came out flying, and lead the Bruins 2-0 after one.
The B's are going to need more physical play similar to the Chara hit, but they can't get fixated on hitting because they need to get the offense going too. There were some good signs late in the period. The B's seemed to have Ryan Miller coming out a bit too far, but they did not have enough solid scoring chances. On the other end, Buffalo was buzzing around Tuukka Rask. The Bruins could be down 3-0 if Raffi Torres didn't hit the post in the final minute. The B's just seem to be hanging on for dear life.
This is not where Boston wanted to be after the first period. But this is where they are, and it's time to wake up!
First period, 3:55, Sabres 2-0: The Sabres are completely outplaying the Bruins right now. The B's need to figure things out in a hurry.
Buffalo has had plenty of odd-man rushes, and the B's can't let that happen. Tuukka Rask isn't playing bad at all, but he can't do everything. Rask needs the team in front of him to start playing.
First period, 6:25, Sabres 2-0: Johnny Boychuk is in the sin-bin for hooking and the Bruins are shorthanded for the third time in this opening frame. Thomas Vanek has left the game as he appeared to hurt his leg crashing into the boards.
First period, 8:00, Sabres 2-0: The Bruins are down 2-0, and they could be down 2-0 in the series if they don't get it together soon. Matt Ellis just took a feed from Patrick Kaleta, and the Sabres are in command.
First period, 10:24, Sabres 1-0: The Bruins just lost their man-advantage because David Krejci was called for high-sticking. That's a tough break for the Bruins because they were just starting their power play. The referees are a bit trigger-happy with the whistles today, so the B's need to remain disciplined.
First period, 10:56, Sabres 1-0: The Bruins just killed off a Buffalo power play and are headed onto their first man-advantage. They were 1-for-2 on the power play in Game 1.
First period, 13:04, Sabres 1-0: Buffalo gets its first power play as Vladimir Sobotka was called for goalie interference.
First period, 13:36, Sabres 1-0: We said below that the Bruins need to create traffic in front of Ryan Miller, but so far, it's been a logjam in front of Tuukka Rask. The logjam led to the Sabres goal by Tyler Myers.
The Sabres are taking it to the Bruins physically. Boston looks a bit on their heels right now.
First period, 17:05, Sabres 1-0: The Sabres get the oh so important first goal as Tyler Myers blasted a shot in that deflected off Steve Begin's skate. There was a lot of traffic in front of Tuukka Rask, and the rookie netminder couldn't find the puck.
That's Myers' first career playoff goal. Henrik Tallinder and Thomas Vanek getting the helpers.
First period, 19:29, 0-0: Underway in Buffalo for Game 2, and as Naoko Funayama e-mailed me, Milan Lucic remained on the ice while Steve Begin and Daniel Paille went off. The coaches are playing a chess game.
1:07 p.m.: We're just about ready to go in Buffalo as the Bruins and Sabres play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. It's pretty much do or die for the Bruins. They're going to have to bring the noise today and play some old school Big, Bad Bruins hockey!
There was some snarl in Game 1, and lots of it came from Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta and rookie defenseman Tyler Myers. The Bruins must respond within the rules. Revenge is best served on the scoreboard.
Before we get going, we will note that Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com is saying that Milan Lucic will start on a line with Steve Begin and Daniel Paille, but we'll see. Claude Julien may be playing some mind games with Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff.
Also, welcome back to Craig "Rammer" Ramsey. The B's assistant coach is back behind the bench after missing Game 1 with the flu.
12:33 p.m.: To say this is a must-win for the Bruins is easy, but it really is true because the Bruins are 0-32 lifetime when falling behind 2-0 in a playoff series. But past teams a side, if this current squad drops into a 2-0 hole to Ryan Miller and this Sabres team, the scoring woes could grow, and frustration will set in.
The Bruins must find a way to score today and get in the head of Miller, or as they say, "get in his kitchen and start cooking dinner!" The red light above Miller must shine bright or the light on the 2009-10 Bruins will grow dim.
12:19 p.m.: The Bruins and Sabres will be taking the ice soon for pregame warmups at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. But before they do, let's look back at what was a hockey fan's dream last night with five Stanley Cup Playoff games on the docket.
It was Hockey Heaven on the tube if you had Centre Ice. Since I do, I'm on my third cup of coffee as I try to wake up for the Bruins game!
For starters, let's just talk about how Sidney Crosby made a strong case that he is the best player on the planet last night! My vote for the Hart Trophy is already in and I can tell you it was for Canucks forward Henrik Sedin, but last night Crosby looked like he may take home the Conn Smythe. He single-handedly beat the Senators and his pass on the Kris Letang gamewinner was a thing of beauty, almost reminiscent of the great Bobby Orr!
The Red Wings and Coyotes also played an exciting game that, for two periods, reminded this scribe of the 2008 classic Game 6 of the Bruins-Habs series. The game featured great back-and-forth action that kept you glued to the TV.
8 a.m.: The Bruins will try to even their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series in Game 2 at Buffalo (1 p.m., NBC), hoping to put a frustrating 2-1 loss in Game 1 behind them.
The Bruins did a lot of things right in Game 1, but they didn't do enough against the Northeast Division champions. With Vezina Trophy candidate Ryan Miller (38 saves) between the pipes, they will need to build off the second period in which they outshot the Sabres 24-8. It will take more crash-and-bang hockey and driving to the net, which Mark Recchi showed with the lone Bruins goal.
That type of hockey will not only generate goals, but it should help turn this into a very intense and competitive series. This may not be the Adams Division battle of old, but with pests like Patrick Kaleta driving Zdeno Chara crazy, this series could turn into an old-school affair.
But in order for that to happen, the Bruins must respond with a win Saturday. Head coach Claude Julien is expected to go with the same lineup as Game 1 (below) to get the job done. We'll be live-blogging all the action here so be sure to check back.
Here are the expected Bruins lines and defensive pairings:
Milan Lucic–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara–Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference–Adam McQuaid
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