Final, Bruins 4-3 (1-0 in shootout): The Bruins win streak now stands at 10 and Boston is back atop the Northeast Division. Benoit Pouliot scored the only goal in the shootout and Tim Thomas stops all five shots he faced for the victory.
Thomas stoned Thomas Vanek, Nathan Gerbe, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Drew Stafford with a string of acrobatic saves. Jhonas Enroth was nearly as good, denying Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron before Pouliot became the unlikely hero in the fifth round of the shootout.
Boston will now return home to enjoy Thanksgiving, then welcome Detroit to the Garden for a Black Friday matinee.
End Overtime, 3-3: This one will be settled in a shootout, as the Bruins survive the Krejci penalty and Tim Thomas comes through with some huge saves to keep this eve through 65 minutes.
Overtime, 3:35, 3-3: Krejci nearly makes amends for his penalty as he sets up Horton in front, but Enroth makes the point-blank save.
Overtime, 0:57, 3-3: The Bruins have killed off the rest of the penalty and Krejci is out of the box to make it 4 on 4 in the the extra session.
End Regulation, 3-3: The Bruins have earned at least a point as the rally to tie this one in the third. They try to get the second point and extend their win streak to 10 games in overtime, but they still have 57 seconds left of Krejci's penalty to kill.
Third Period, 18:57, 3-3: The Bruins face a huge kill here as David Krejci is called for hooking Nathan Gerbe.
Third Period, 16:20, 3-3: Tyler Seguin nearly gets another with a backhand chance in front that slips just wide.
Third Period, 13:15, 3-3: Good work from the third line with Kelly stealing a pass in the offensive zone and Peverley getting a chance in front.
Third Period, 12:22, 3-3: Up and down action with both teams picking up the pace, but both the Bruins and the Sabres are doing a good job of limiting chances and keeping things out on the perimeter.
Third Period, 8:20, 3-3: The Bruins have had some close calls themselves, clanging a post earlier, and now Krejci flipping one in frnt that bounces off the top of the Buffalo net.
Third Period, 4:24, 3-3: The Sabres nearly pull ahead as Derek Roy puts the puck in the net, but the goal is immediately waved off as he batted it in with a high stick.
Third Period, 3:35, 3-3: The Bruins tie it on the power play as Zdeno Chara scores on a blast from just inside the blue line.
Chara scored off a feed from Lucic out of the right slot after David Krejci made a nice play in front to keep the puck alive.
Third Period, 2:11, Sabres 3-2: Rich Peverley making a living behind the net, as he sets up shop there again and this time draws a hooking call on Derek Roy to give the Bruins another power play.
Third Period, 1:39, Sabres 3-2: Rich Peverley with the steal behind the net, but he can't stuff it in at the left post.
Third Period, 0:00, Sabres 3-2: The final frame is under way in Buffalo, and the Bruins will need a rally to pull out their 10th straight win and take over first place in the Northeast Division.
Second Intermission Notes: Much better period for the Bruins in the second, as the extracurriculars settled down a bit and Boston pulled within a goal at 3-2 heading into the third,
Tyler Seguin had a lot to do with that, breaking out of a mini-slump (0-1-1 in his last 4 games) with a goal and an assist. In just 20 games, he has now matched his assist total and exceeded both his goal and point total from his rookie campaign, when he had 11-11-22 totals in 74 games. He's at 12-11-23 with one period left in Game No. 20 this year.
The officiating remains pretty suspect, but the Bruins got the better of the penalty calls in the second. They converted one of three chances, while Buffalo did not have a power play in the middle frame after getting three in the first. Those power plays helped the Bruins outshoot Buffalo 13-6 in the period. They now lead 25-22 overall and also continue to win the faceoff war. Boston is 29-22 on draws (57 percent), with Chris Kelly leading the way at 5-1. Milan Lucic stayed on the ice longer in the second, but still has no shots and just two hits in 9:45.
End Second Period, Sabres 3-2: The middle frame comes to a close, with the Bruins trimming the lead, but still trailing by a goal heading into the third.
Second Period, 18:36, Sabres 3-2: The gloves come off once more as Andrew Ference takes exception to Drew Stafford bumping Thomas one too many times.
Not much of a scrap as it was mostly in-close grappling, but definitely a different reaction from the Sabres' response to Lucic's far bigger hit on Miller in that last meeting.
Second Period, 16:58, Sabres 3-2: The Bruins nearly tie it, but Daniel Paille is denied on a breakaway chance by Enroth.
Second Period, 16:00, Sabres 3-2: The Bruins pull back within one again on a great effort by Marchand.
Marchand went down hard in a collision with Vanek in the neutral zone, but bounced right back up and carried the puck in down the left wing. He dropped it to Seguin, who passed it to Bergeron for the shot from the right wing. Marchand came out from behind the net to grab the rebound and roofed it over Enroth.
Second Period, 14:14, Sabres 3-1: The Bruins squander that chance again as the sides are back at even strength.
Second Period, 12:14, Sabres 3-1: The Bruins get another power play on another questionable call, this time benefiting Boston as Christian Ehrhoff is sent off for interference.
Second Period, 11:02, Sabres 3-1: The Sabres push the lead back to two as T.J. Brennan scores in his first NHL game.
Brennan pinched in from the right point and fired home the shot from the circle past Thomas.
Second Period, 10:21, Sabres 2-1: The Bruins can't convert that power-play chance, though Chara came close with a bid down low at the right post.
The Sabres have also announced that former Bruin Brad Boyes will not return after suffering a lower-body injury.
Second Period, 8:21, Sabres 2-1: The Bruins will get a chance to pull even as they go on another power-play with Matt Ellis sent to the box interference.
Second Period, 7:46, Sabres 2-1: Thomas doesn't need any help this time as he stuffs Drew Stafford in front as he breaks in for a backhand bid on a 3-on-2 rush.
Second Period, 6:56, Sabres 2-1: The Sabres nearly strike as Thomas Vanek is all alone in front, but Zdeno Chara makes the save behind Thomas along the goal line to keep the Bruins within a goal.
Second Period, 3:37, Sabres 2-1: The Bruins pull within one as Tyler Seguin scored on a blast from the left circle.
Seguin one-timed a pass from Patrice Bergeron for his 12th goal and 22 point of the year. that beats his goal total and matches his point total from all of last year.
Second Period, 3:08, Sabres 2-0: The Bruins will get a power-play chance as Daniel Paille draws a hooking call on Corey Tropp as he drives around the net looking for the wraparound.
Second Period, 0:00, Sabres 2-0: The middle frame is under way in Buffalo, where the Bruins will look to dig out of their early hole.
First Intermission Notes: Eventful opening period in Buffalo, where the Bruins are winning the fights, but losing the war against the officials as Buffalo converted two of their three power-play chances for a 2-0 lead.
Milan Lucic pounded out a win over Paul Gaustad in his first shift and Zdeno Chara hammered Robyn Regehr later, but the Sabres did what they needed to do by showing up. Didn't expect to see much more than just the token fight with Lucic, but after the melee that led to Chara's fight, it looks like more could be in store.
The Bruins need to be more disciplined though, even if a couple of the calls against them have been very, very weak. They can't afford to keep letting Buffalo go on the power play. At even strength the Bruins are the superior team, but those penalties calls are the equalizer.
Buffalo has a 16-12 edge in shots and a slim 13-12 advantage in hits, with little Nathan Gerbe leading the way with four. The Bruins are dominating the draws 16-9 (64 percent), thanks to Chris Kelly (4-0), Rich Peverley (3-0) and David Krejci (5-2). Thanks to the penalties, Lucic played just 3:05 in the first, with one hit and no shots.
End First Period, Sabres 2-0: The opening 20 minutes are in the books. The Bruins have won two fights, but the Sabres have two power-play goals and take the lead into the first intermission.
First Period, 18:13, Sabres 2-0: The Bruins can't get anything going on that power-play chance, failing to even get a shot on goal in the two minutes.
First Period, 16:13, Sabres 2-0: The Bruins finally get their first power play as Luke Adam is called for slashing Adam McQuaid's stick.
First Period, 15:22, Sabres 2-0: The Sabres strike again on the man advantage, this time with Thomas Vanek scoring from the left slot.
Vanek used Johnny Boychuk as a screen as he fired one in past Thomas to double the lead.
First Period, 14:37, Sabres 1-0: The Sabres will get yet another power play as Dennis Seidenberg is called for hooking.
First Period, 11:56, Sabres 1-0: The Sabres convert that power-play chance as Christian Ehrhoff fires in a shot from the right point.
That snaps Thomas' road shutout streak at 234 minutes, 12 seconds.
First Period, 11:33, 0-0: The gloves are off again. After the Bruins kill off the penalty, Gaustad takes a run at Brad Marchand. that brings everyone into a big scrum behind the net.
Zdeno Chara and Robyn Regehr separate in the only full fight, with Chara dropping the Sabres defenseman. The Bruins end up with the extra penalty and Buffalo will go back on the power play.
First Period, 9:01, 0-0: The refs getting some retaliation on Lucic as he is called for roughing on a routine hit to give Buffalo the first power play of the game.
First Period, 8:29, 0-0: Nathan Horton with a bid from the right circle that forced Enroth to look behind him, but he holds on to puck.
First Period, 8:29, 0-0: With a break in the action, Lucic and Gaustad return to their benches as their fighting penalties have expired. Lucic greeted by more boos from stands and congratulations from teammates.
First Period, 5:56, 0-0: The Sabres with the best chance so far as Drew Stafford drives down the right wing, cuts to the front of the net but can't get the puck through past Thomas.
First Period, 4:31, 0-0: The teams are back to five a side as the penalties expire. Probably won't be the last trips to the box in this one though.
First Period, 2:31, 0-0: More early penalties as Benoit Pouliot goes to the box yet again for elbowing, but this time Corey Tropp accompanies him to keep the sides even. Tropp is serving a too many men penalty.
First Period, 1:23, 0-0: After the puck goes out of play, Milan Lucic comes out for his first shift to chorus of boos.
Paul Gaustad lines up opposite and they drop the gloves off the draw. Even square off with both removing helmets (Gaustad wears a visor) and it stayed even for a bit with both throwing rights, but Lucic took over with a series of big rights and pounded Gaustad down.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And they're under way in Buffalo. The puck has been dropped, will the gloves follow?
7 p.m.: The Sabres will have to wait at least one shift to get at Milan Lucic. He's not in the starting lineup, as Claude Julien goes with the fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton up front, with Andrew Ference and Zdeno Chara on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Sabres counter with ville Leino, Derek Roy and Drew Stafford up front, Christian Ehrhoff and Andrej Sekera on the blue line and Jhonas Enroth in net.
6:55 p.m.: The Bruins have scratched Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer once again. Benoit Pouliot stays in lineup despite his bad penalties Monday in Montreal.
Patrick Kaleta and Cody McCormick are officially out for Buffalo, which is bringing even fewer knives to this gunfight.
6:40 p.m.: Cody McCormick was not on the ice for warm-ups, which was not a surprise as he has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.
More interesting was the absence of Patrick Kaleta. The Sabres pest missed practice Tuesday but took part in the morning skate on Wednesday. If Kaleta is out, Corey Tropp, expected to sit in favor of the returning Jochen Hecht, would remain in the lineup.
That actually gives Buffalo a bit more toughness, as Tropp is a willing fighter, albeit far from a heavyweight. He also has some history with one Bruin, as he was one of the Michigan State players who attacked Steven Kampfer on the ice in a nasty incident a few years back when Kampfer was playing for Michigan.
6:30 p.m.: No surprises in net. Tim Thomas and Jhonas Enroth led the teams onto the ice for warm-ups. that will be the matchup in goal as expected.
6 p.m.: The Sabres didn't call up any toughness for the grudge match with the Bruins, but with will have a little more scoring punch with Jochen Hecht expected to make his season debut.
Hecht has missed the first 20 games of the season with a concussion, which makes this game an interesting one for his return considering the potential for fireworks.
Buffalo still has plenty of injuries, with goalie Ryan Miller (concussion) still sidelined, defenseman Tyler Myers out with a broken wrist, fellow blueliner Mike Weber (upper body) and forwards Tyler Ennis (ankle) and Cody McCormick (upper body) also injured. McCormick is Buffalo's primary pugilist, so his absence could be especially big in this one if he remains out for a fourth straight game as expected.
5:35 p.m.: In just about 90 minutes, we'll finally get the answer to what the Sabres will do to try to redeem themselves after their pathetic lack of response to Milan Lucic and the Bruins in the last meeting between the clubs.
While many are expecting a bloodbath, I think this will be a lot tamer than most hope. The Sabres aren't equipped with the toughness needed to go to war with the Bruins, and the league has made it clear they don't want anything to get out of hand. There may be a fight or two, and Lucic will likely have to answer someone's challenge, but don't expect too much mayhem.
The Bruins are focused on taking the Northeast Division lead and winning their 10th straight game, and they'll turn to Tim Thomas to try to do that. He'll get the start after posting back-to-back shutouts in Boston's last two games and carries a road shutout streak of 222:16 overall.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins close out their three-game road trip with first place in the Northeast Division on the line in a clash with the Sabres.
But that might not be the biggest storyline in Buffalo on Wednesday.
This game also marks the first meeting between the clubs since Milan Lucic crashed into Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in Boston's 6-2 win at the Garden on Nov. 12. The Sabres did nothing in response to stand up for their netminder, who remains out with a concussion.
Lucic was also not disciplined by the league, but admitted on Tuesday that he does expect to finally be challenged by the Sabres on Wednesday. The Bruins, however, are less concerned with any attempts at retribution than they are with getting the two points.
"To be honest I don't know," Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked he expected the Sabres to try to settle the score with Lucic. "The one thing I'm not going to do is focus on that because it is a game that is important to both teams. I think that win is more important than anything right now. We're not the ones looking for revenge if there is [anyone looking for it]. We're looking to win a hockey game. But that's not a big issue. I think our team has been able to handle teams that have tried to push us around well, so that's not even something we're going to lose sleep over."
The Bruins have been causing opponents fitful nights for other reasons of late, as Boston has rattled off nine straight wins by a combined 43-14 score. While the Bruins have more than enough firepower to meet any physical challenge the Sabres could throw at them, with that kind of a run of success it's easy to see why the Bruins would not want to alter anything at the moment.
"We're on a pretty good roll right now," Julien said. "Why would we want to change our ways and fall into that situation where you're only going to hurt your team more than help it?"
The puck drops at 7 p.m. in Buffalo, so check back here for updates on all the action.
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