Bruins Live Blog: Sabres’ Offense Overpowers Boston, Forces Game 6


April 23, 2010

Bruins Live Blog: Sabres' Offense Overpowers Boston, Forces Game 6 Final, Sabres 4-1: This is why NHL players say that the clinching game is the hardest game of them all in the playoffs. The Sabres came out with a renewed ferocity that has been absent throughout the series and staved off elimination with a 4-1 win over the Bruins.

Game 6 will be Monday at TD Garden.

Third period, 5 seconds, Sabres 4-1: Zdeno Chara just went bonkers on Paul Gaustad, throwing haymakers, and then Cody McCormick jumped in and we have mayhem here to set the table for Game 6.

Third period, 1:43, Sabres 4-1: Just seconds after the Bruins broke the shutout, Tyler Ennis scored the empty-netter to all but seal the deal here and we're headed back to Boston for Game 6.

Third period, 2:30, Sabres 3-1: Johnny Boychuk just continued his amazing series and scored a power-play goal for the Bruins to make it 3-1 Sabres.

Third period, 4:09, Sabres 3-0: The Bruins are headed onto their fourth power play. They're 0-for-3 tonight.

Third period, 8:16, Sabres 3-0: Earlier in the day, after the Sabres' morning skate, Ryan Miller snapped a bit on a Boston reporter when asked about getting over the tough Game 4 double-overtime loss in Boston. It was unlike Miller to show frustration like that, but now one has to wonder if his open frustration was a way to call out his team and get it to play better in front of him.

Third period, 11:12, Sabres 3-0: Mike Grier, who scored the third Buffalo goal, just took a Dennis Wideman shot to the head but got up after a few minutes and is thankfully OK. The Bruins had some great pressure on Miller there but he came up big and preserved the shutout.

Third period, 15:48, Sabres 3-0: Under way in the final frame here at HSBC Arena, where the Bruins and Sabres opened the period with over four minutes of non-stop action.

Second intermission, Sabres 3-0: Besides tremendous pressure in the offensive zone from the Sabres, another major factor they're up by three goals headed to the final frame is that they are leading in blocked shots 19-6 through two periods of play.

The Bruins, unlike in the last three games or even Game 1, have been really struggling to find the space and seams for shots to get through and in effect there has been little pressure in front for Ryan Miller. If they are to comeback here, they need to change that and start finding the open lanes when there are open lanes.

Lots of credit to Tuukka Rask for keeping his team in this game right now. It could easily be 5-0.

End of second period, Sabres 3-0: The Sabres are one period away from bringing this series back to Boston and if the Bruins play the way they're playing now on Monday in a possible Game 6, they will be returning to this fine city.

Second period, 2:12, Sabres 3-0: Tuukka Rask is definitely keeping the Bruins in the game right now.

Second period, 5:50, Sabres 3-0: The Bruins failed to convert on that last power play and are now 0-for-3. They didn't have too many scoring chances either and are getting a little too fancy out there instead of letting her rip.

Second period, 9:07, Sabres 3-0: The Bruins are headed onto their third power play. They're 0-for-2.

Second period, 10:38, Sabres 3-0: Former Boston University star Mike Grier just beat Tuukka Rask and the Sabres are up 3-0 right now.

The Bruins killed off that last power play but the Sabres just kept the pressure on and Grier found the twine. Paul Gaustad had the helper.

The Bruins are simply flat and need to wake up soon or this series is headed back to Beantown.

Second period, 11:50, Sabres 2-0: Tim Connolly didn't score after further review.

Second period, 12:50, Sabres 2-0: The Sabres are now on the power play as Marco Sturm was called for high-sticking.The referees are now reviewing what might have been a Buffalo goal.

Second period, 14:50, Sabres 2-0: The Bruins are headed onto their second period as Paul Gaustad was called for hooking. Here's the chance they need to get it going.

Second period, 16:11, Sabres 2-0: Underway in the second period here at HSBC Arena as the Bruins try to erase a two-goal deficit.

First intermission, Sabres 2-0: The Bruins definitely didn't have the period they wanted as they try to close this series out but they have proven in the last three games they can come back and in Game 2, they actually came back after trailing 2-0 following the opening period of play.

Some major defensive breakdowns that we haven't seen since that Game 2 win though are killing the Bruins tonight. Vladimir Sobotka's turnover led to that last Buffalo goal but the whole team looked lost on that play and the Sabres first goal as well. Andrew Ference has been out of position on both goals. They need to tighten up again.

The Bruins did have some solid chances down the other end but so far they have been limited to five shots on net and Ryan Miller has been ready for all of them. They need to get that pressure back on Miller that has led to success in the last three games.

End of first period, Sabres 2-0: Jason Pominville scored a late goal with 1:06 left in the first period and the Bruins head to the dressing room trailing 2-0. Derek Roy and Tyler Ennis had the helpers. 

First period, 4:00, Sabres 1-0: Marco Sturm just missed an open net and when you're cold, you're cold! Sturm has just one goal in his last 21 games.

First period, 6:32, Sabres 1-0: The Sabres killed off that Tyler Myers penalty and both teams are 0-for-1.

First period, 8:37, Sabres 1-0: Tyler Myers just got called for a blatant cross-check Daniel Paille and negated the Sabres' power play. The Bruins had another brilliant penalty kill going forcing Myers to take the penalty in front of the Sabres' net.

First period, 10:49, Sabres 1-0: Shawn Thornton just caught Patrick Kaleta with an elbow and will go to the sin-bin for two. This is the first power play for either team. The Sabres are yet to score on the power play this series.

First period, 13:47, Sabres 1-0: As expected the Sabres have come out fired up and it's no surprise they got the first goal. Now we will see if that was just a case of a team fighting off elimination and if the initial wave of momentum is over for the Sabres.

First period, 18:06, Sabres 1-0: The Sabres have drawn first blood again and are up 1-0 for the fifth straight game. Adam Mair took a nice feed in front from Nathan Gerbe and beat Tuukka Rask.

That's Gerbe's first career playoff point. Cody McCormick had the secondary assist.

First period, 18:59: And we're underway here in Buffalo for Game 5 and the bruins already had a solid scoring chance with David Krejci breaking in on Ryan Miller but Miller made the save. Nice moves by Krejci who finally found the twine last game.

7:05 p.m.: The Bruins and Sabres just took the ice and have to give props when it's due, great intro music by HSBC Arena as the Sabres hopped on the ice with a classical music montage and then the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man". Let's get this game going!

7 p.m.: The Bruins and Sabres have finished their pre-game skates here at HSBC Arena and we're ready to go for Game 5 as the Bruins look to clinch their second playoff series in as many seasons. But as NESN play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards just told me: "hold your breath, it ain't going to be easy". Here's the lineups for tonight:

Daniel Paille–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara–Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference–Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Tyler Ennis–Derek Roy–Jason Pominville
Paul Gaustad–Tim Connolly–Mike Grier
Nathan Gerbe–Adam Mair–Cody McCormick
Drew Stafford–Tim Kennedy–Patrick Kaleta

Henrik Tallinder–Tyler Myers
Andrej Sekera–Craig Rivet
Toni Lydman–Steve Montador

Ryan Miller
Patrick Lalime

12:45 p.m.: The Bruins held what they hope will be their final pre-game skate at HSBC Arena in this series and are ready to do their best to make that a reality. They will do so with Daniel Paille riding shotgun on the left wing of the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi as Milan Lucic has been shifted down to the fourth line with Steve Begin and Shawn Thornton. As Claude Julien pointed out, "nothing is etched in stone" but that is how the Bruins will start the game.

Regardless of who plays where, the Bruins know what their job is and that's to try and beat what will be a desperate Sabres team that is trying to prolong their season.

"We know they're going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at us tonight and we just have to stay calm out there and play our game," forward Blake Wheeler said. "This is always the toughest game, the fourth one and the closer."

The Bruins are 17-1 when leading a series by a 3-1 margin but as Dennis Wideman pointed out, that doesn't matter.

"I don't even remember two weeks ago so who cares about that," Wideman joked. "This is about this game and we need to finish them off tonight."

Marc Savard skated with his teammates today but Julien stressed that he is still not close to returning and has some "hurdles" to get over before he can play. For now, it's just light contact and skating for the Bruins star center.

Here is what the Bruins lineup should look like tonight:

Daniel Paille–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara–Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference–Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

11:53 a.m.: The Sabres held their morning skate today and head coach Lindy Ruff indicated after to the media that Thomas Vanek will miss his third straight game with an ankle injury. Also, Nathan Gerbe, the former Boston College star, will replace Raffi Torres who has two assists but has been unable to find the twine in this series.

"Hoping he can bring some scoring," Ruff said regarding Gerbe. "Maybe a second unit power-play guy who can add a little
something for us."

Ruff was asked if Vanek's absence has factored into the Sabres situation, trailing 3-1 in the series and couldn't really say for certain but he pointed out that either way, his other big guns need to step up.

"Our key players for us — the Roys, Pominvilles, Connollys — have
got to get it done," said Ruff referring to Derek Roy, Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly who collectively have accounted for one goal from Pominville in the series. "At the end of the day, they've got to
get it done."

9 a.m.: Greetings from Buffalo where Sabres fans are hoping the NFL draft isn't the highlight of their weekend.

They're also hoping their hockey team can find the success that led them to the Northeast Division regular season title and keep this Eastern Conference quarterfinals series alive, cutting the Bruins series lead to 3-2 with a win in Game 5.

The Bruins, of course, are hoping otherwise and would like to close the series out Friday at HSBC Arena to advance to the conference semifinals for the second straight season.

"We can't sit back and let them back in this or think they can get back in this," forward Mark Recchi said.

The Bruins know from being in the Sabres' skates that a 3-1 series lead can evaporate quickly coming back twice from such a deficit to the Canadiens in 2008 and Hurricanes in 2009. Both times those clubs held on to win the series but Boston doesn't want to be in such a position. But those clubs didn't have Tuukka Rask who has been as cool as a cucumber between the pipes going 3-1 in his first four career playoff games and shutting the door down. Friday the Bruins will look for Rask to do it again and complete the series upset of the division champs.

We'll have all the updates leading into Game 5 here on our Live Bruins Blog at leading into the 7 p.m. tilt from HSBC Arena so be sure to follow before you watch the game on NESN Friday.

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