Boston still has not won consecutive games since Jan. 10 and 12 and they didn't completely carry over their strong effort from Wednesday's win in St. Louis. But they did rally from a goal down in the third period to salvage a point in a 2-1 shootout loss to Sabres in Buffalo on Friday.
"I thought we really earned that point in the third period," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We came out strong and really kind of took it to them. We needed to that goal to get at least a point and I thought our guys played well in the third."
The Bruins definitely put together one of their better periods in the final frame. After a pretty evenly played opening 40 minutes saw the Sabres up 1-0, the Bruins dominated Buffalo in the third.
"We didn't start feeling sorry for ourselves," Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask said. "We just battled again and tried to get that next goal. It was a good effort by us."
The teams were tied 18-18 in shots through two periods, but the Bruins poured 15 shots on Sabres netminder Ryan Miller in the third while Buffalo managed just five shots on Rask. The shot count doesn't always reflect the true nature of play if many of those bids are coming from the perimeter, but the Bruins did a better job of crashing the net and kept play in the Buffalo end for most of that final period.
"We didn't want to sit back and let them come at us," Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "We wanted to go at them and take the game to them. That's what we talked about between periods and that's what we did and how we got a point out of this."
The point came as a result of a Zdeno Chara power-play strike 3:36 into the third. After Chara's first shot was blocked by Mike Weber, he intercepted a Derek Roy clearing attempt and blasted home his next bid from the right point.
Chara turned in a strong effort as he continues to snap out of his recent funk. The goal was his first in 11 games and comes on the heels of finishing Wednesday's win a plus-3, turning around a disturbing trend that saw the Bruins captain a minus-9 in the previous six games. Chara attempted eight shots in all on Friday and added three hits in 25:49.
He was far from the only Bruin contributing to the club's earning points in back-to-back games for the first time since a 2-0-1 stretch from Jan. 19-22. The "Merlot Line" of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton continue to step up with injuries leaving Boston shorthanded up front. They combined for six shots and two hits, continuously applying pressure on the forecheck on their shifts. It was their strong work in the Buffalo zone that forced Christian Ehrhoff to take a delay of game penalty for firing the puck into the stands trying to clear it, creating the power play that Chara converted.
The newly formed line of Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic and David Krejci was also effective, combining for 12 shots, three hits and three blocked shots. Krejci continues to create chances playing on the wing, producing four of those shots, while Kelly has formed some nice chemistry on that unit and had a game-high six shots.
"We never lost focus," Julien said. "Our guys were determined to come back, and in the third period we didn't play on our heels. That's the second game in a row that we've played really well in the third. So that bodes well."
The Bruins will need to continue that effort, as they don't get any time off. They complete their six-game road trip by opening a key home-and-home series with the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday. The Senators have closed to within three points of the Bruins for the Northeast Division lead, though Boston still has three games in hand on Ottawa.
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