Final, Sabres 4-2: That’s it in Buffalo, as the Sabres take advantage of an ugly third period from the Bruins and win it 4-2 in a game they needed to have.
Third period, 19:37, Sabres 4-2: This game is just about over. The Sabres take a timeout, but the B’s still trail 4-2 with 22.7 seconds to play.
Third period, 18:04, Sabres 4-2: The Bruins are running out of time, and the Sabres have done a good job of putting the pressure on and keeping it on, making it difficult for Boston to get any sort of transitional offense going.
Third period, 11:45, Sabres 4-2: Anton Khudobin is starting to look like a backup goalie.
Then again, he didn’t get much help as Tyler Myers is able to stickhandle through the neutral zone and into the Bruins’ zone before tossing a backhanded pass from below the goal line back to the net where Cody Hodgson is able to find a small hole between Khudobin’s pad and the post to give Buffalo the two-goal lead.
Third period, 9:44, Sabres 3-2: Scary moment in Buffalo after Andrej Sekera gets stapled to the end boards by Shawn Thornton, a hit that sent Sekera to the ice.
He needed to be helped off the ice.
Third period, 9:02, Sabres 3-2: The Sabres, improbably, have taken the lead.
The Bruins got sloppy in the neutral zone and in their own zone, and it cost them dearly. The B’s can’t slow a Buffalo rush into the Boston zone, and then they had trouble clearing the puck. The puck came back into the slot where Christian Ehrhoff was waiting, and he fires one by Anton Khudobin, who had come out of his crease some to cut off the angle. That obviously didn’t work.
The puck seemed to bounce right over Rich Peverley’s stick and right to Erhoff.
Third period, 6:27, 2-2: I don’t know what Lindy Ruff said in between periods, but apparently his message got through to his team, which is a surprise at this point.
Nonetheless, the Sabres look like an entirely different hockey team here in the third. They’re racing around the rink, and those loose-puck battles the B’s were winning in the first two periods are now being won by guys in blue sweaters.
All of a sudden it’s on the Bruins to withstand this charge and try to do something about it.
Third period, 5:16, 2-2: The Bruins were able to kill the penalty, but it hasn’t done anything to shift momentum yet.
The Sabres are putting on more and more pressure with each shift, and there have been a couple of close calls, including one puck that dribbled through the crease, just narrowly avoiding the goal line.
Third period, 2:03, 2-2: The Sabres look fired up, and they get the early goal in the third period.
It all started with a check from Steve Ott to set up the play going the other way.
The goal is scored by Tyler Myers, but it all started with a strong team-wide breakout. Anton Khudobin made a terrific save point-blank on Jochen Hect, but he can’t control the rebound and Myers is there to slam it by the Bruins’ goalie.
Making matters worse, Adam McQuaid gets called for a penalty on the ensuing shift.
Third period, 0:01, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins and Sabres open the third, with Boston looking to put away Buffalo with another strong third period.
Second period reaction: Give the Bruins credit for taking advantage of it, but this game has been all about how hapless the Sabres look so far.
The Bruins are all over the place, beating the Sabres to seemingly each and every loose puck. There was no better example of that than when Rich Peverley came flying in to beat John Scott (admittedly not saying much), but the hustle paid off as Peverley beat the icing and then scored a few seconds later.
One person who is exempt from criticism would be Ryan Miller. He’s been the good Ryan Miller again, and this one feels a lot like the Sunday night game. Boston dominated play then, too, but Miller made some big-time saves to keep Buffalo in the game.
He can only do so much, however, and if the Bruins keep this up, it could get out of hand quickly.
End second period, Bruins 2-1: It’s bad for the Sabres and their fans. How bad, you ask? Well when the public address announcer announced there was a minute to play in the second period, Buffalo fans cheered.
It was an ugly, ugly second for the Sabres, and they’re lucky to be only down 2-1 through 40 minutes. We’ll have more in just a minute.
Second period, 18:11, Bruins 2-1: When you outwork the opposition, you’re going to get chances.
The Bruins did just that as Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell fight for the loose pucks, giving the B’s their most recent scoring chance. With Nathan Horton just on the ice for Shawn Thornton, it was Paille who fought for the loose puck before sending it down the wall to Campbell. He then flung the puck to the front of the net where Horton was all alone in the slot. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Horton wasn’t able to get full control of the puck and Ryan Miller broke the play up before freezing the puck.
Second period, 14:42, Bruins 2-1: The Sabres’ power play comes to an end abruptly when Steve Ott gets called for interference.
Second period, 14:19, Bruins 2-1: Stealing a page out of the New York Rangers’ playbook, the Bruins get caught in a sloppy change, and they’re called for too many men on the ice.
They’ll go back on the penalty kill, which is kind of a big one, considering how the Sabres have been able to keep this a one-goal game despite a strong second period from Boston.
Second period, 11:45, Bruins 2-1: It should be 3-1 Bruins by now, but Ryan Miller is once again bailing out his teammates.
The Patrice Bergeron line was dominating play, keeping the puck in the Buffalo zone, but Miller stood tall. The B’s were in the middle of a change, and Tyler Seguin was still on the ice, and he was able to create some offense by himself. He went to the net as Chris Bourque shot one from the blue line. The rebound went right to Seguin who tried to sneak a quick wrist shot by Miller, but the goalie made a dazzling glove save, somehow keeping this game just a one-goal affair.
Anton Khudobin actually kept the game tied a few seconds earlier with a dazzling save on a wraparound chance from Buffalo.
Second period, 6:27, Bruins 2-1: This has been one heckuva second period thus far from the Bruins, and they almost extended their lead just a few minutes ago.
Zdeno Chara wristed one from the left point, and Nathan Horton tipped it in front, and the puck appeared to hit the crossbar. A mad rush for the rebound led to another scoring chance before the Sabres were able to clear the zone.
The Bruins have a ton of jump here in the second, and you almost get the sense that they smell blood, and they’re going for the jugular.
Second period, 2:29, Bruins 2-1: Rich Peverley’s hustle was tremendous Wednesday against the Rangers, and he picks up right where he left off in this one against the Sabres. This time, it turns into a goal for the Boston forward.
Peverley hustles like crazy into the Buffalo zone to beat the Sabres to an iced puck, and that sets up the Bruins offense. The puck eventually found Dougie Hamilton, and the defenseman sent the puck intentionally wide. The puck took a crazy bounce over the net and into the slot where Peverley had cycled back. He bangs it home before Miller can get to the right pipe, and the Bruins have a 2-1 lead.
Second period, 0:01, 1-1: The second period is underway.
First period reaction: The Bruins came out with a ton of jump in the game’s first few shifts, which was a nice change from the slow start they showed Wednesday against the Rangers.
However, the Sabres absorbed those early blows and actually bounced back to take the early lead, thanks to a costly turnover by Andrew Ference behind the Boston net. Tyler Ennis did a nice job of of finding Drew Stafford from behind the net, and Stafford slammed it home from the slot for his first of the season.
However, the Bruins were able to really dig in after that, into the final third of the period. The B’s put some pucks on net and really upped the forecheck and the pressure on the puck. That paid off when another terrific shift led to their first power play of the game.
They took advantage of that with one good shift from the power play’s first unit, which set up the second unit, who was able to cash in.
There was some great puck movement from Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin and David Krejci with Krejci passing it to Hamilton who was able to creep into the slot. Hamilton basically had a wide-open net (or at least half of a net) and he scores a relatively easy goal, the first of his career.
“It was a lot of fun,” Hamilton told Naoko Funayama during intermission. “A dream come true for me. I have a lot of family and friends here tonight, so it’s a pretty special feeling.”
End first period, 1-1: The first period comes to a close with the Bruins tying it up late, which capped off a series of really good shifts.
That goal came off the stick of Dougie Hamilton for the 19-year-old’s first career goal. We’ll have some first period reaction in a bit.
First period, 17:56, 1-1: Dougie Hamilton has his first NHL goal, and fittingly, it’s a power-play goal.
The Bruins just cashed in on one of their best power plays of the season to tie the game up late in the first period.
First period, 16:17, Sabres 1-0: Boston has turned it back on, and they’ve gotten a few chances in the last couple of minutes.
Milan Lucic took advantage of a bad turnover from Thomas Vanek in the Buffalo end and the Bruins winger puts one on net that hits the post to Ryan Miller’s right.
A few seconds later, it was Johnny Boychuk who threw one at the net while pinching down that appeared to hit a leg in front before hitting another post.
The Bruins are going on the power play, though, after another strong shift in the Buffalo zone leads to Drew Stafford tripping Brad Marchand in front of the Buffalo net.
First period, 10:48, Sabres 1-0: The Bruins were able to get the win Sunday in Buffalo despite an incredible effort from Ryan Miller. So far, it looks like they’ll have to deal with the same tough version of the goaltender in this one.
Rich Peverley just took the puck into the Buffalo zone with a good burst of energy, and was able to flip it backhanded on net. The puck bounced off Miller right to Chris Kelly, who put it on net, but was robbed by a Miller pad save on the left wing.
First period, 7:48, Sabres 1-0: The Bruins kill off the Adam McQuaid penalty with another strong effort.
Give the Sabres credit for fighting back after a couple of strong shifts from the B’s to begin the game. It’s now back on the Bruins to reassert themselves in both ends and try to generate some more chances against Ryan Miller.
First period, 5:42, Sabres 1-0: More issues for the Bruins, as they’ll be shorthanded for a couple of minutes.
Adam McQuaid caught Patrick Kaleta with a high stick, and McQuaid draws the game’s first penalty.
First period, 3:24, Sabres 1-0: This has been a weird start.
The Bruins have dominated the first few minutes of the game, but it’s the Sabres who get on the board first.
The Bruins turn it over in their own zone, and Tyler Ennis flips the puck in front of the net to Drew Stafford who buries one by Anton Khudobin.
Other than that, it’s been all Bruins early on, but the scoreboard is obviously what matters.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: It’s time for hockey. Thanks for joining us on this Friday evening.
The B’s and Sabres are underway.
7:05 p.m.: We’re moments away from hockey, so it’s time for baseless predictions.
I have a feeling Pat Kaleta and/or Steve Ott will get a little pushy with Brad Marchand after a whistle at some point in this one. It’s kind of in their nature, and maybe they think doing such can throw Marchand off his game. He’s got seven goals this season, so why not, right? Then again, those extracurriculars might fire up Marchand. What do I know?
Can we play hockey now?
6:40 p.m.: The Bruins were led out for pregame warm-ups by Anton Khudobin, meaning he’ll make his third start of the season.
As we mentioned earlier, he got the start against Buffalo on Sunday and was terrific, stopping 25 0f 26 shots for the win.
6 p.m.: Tom Petty put it best when he said the waiting was the hardest part, and we have to do that for another whole hour before the Bruins and Sabres get under way in Buffalo.
Some might be concerned about the progress of Dougie Hamilton. Any such concern is unfair for a few reasons. First, he’s a 19-year-old playing in the NHL. These peaks and valleys are to be expected. Second, he was so darn good in the first week of the season that our expectations were probably unfairly high after those first few games.
Of course, no one’s getting ready to give up on him either. The fact remains that he continues to look like he belongs. There’s also no reason, given his track record, to believe that he won’t make adjustments to get better and better. I spoke with his coach at junior, Niagara head coach Marty Williamson, as well as Hamilton’s former defense partner Shayne Rover. I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks or days, but it’s pretty clear that you’d be very hard-pressed to find anyone who has a bad thing to say about Hamilton. One thing that really stood out for me was that both Williamson and Rover praised Hamilton for his ability to make in-game adjustments, as well as adjustments from game-to-game. So don’t worry about Hamilton. He’ll be fine, even if he does enter this game on a six-game pointless streak.
5 p.m.: As we approach game time (just a mere two hours away), here’s a nice story.
The Bruins, led by Claude Julien, will be making a trip to Newtown, Conn., next week. The B’s will be going to mingle with families and sign autographs. It’s tough to believe it’s already been two months since senseless violence shook that entire community to its core in a horribly tragic event.
Check out details of the classy gesture by clicking here.
2:30 p.m.: The Bruins may be changing things up between the pipes for this one.
Anton Khudobin was the first goalie off at the morning skate, which is usually an indication that he’ll be the starting goalie. Claude Julien didn’t offer much more, however, when asked who his goalie would be against the Sabres.
If it is Khudobin, it means that Tuukka Rask would get an extended rest after playing in Tuesday’s loss to the Rangers. Rask was as shaky as he’s been all year, allowing a couple of soft goals against New York, although he did tighten up late in the third and into overtime and the shootout.
Khudobin has made two starts this season, with his last coming Sunday against the Sabres as well. He stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced in the Bruins’ win.
12:30 p.m. ET: For the second time in six days, the Bruins have made a trip up to Buffalo for another Northeast Division clash with the Sabres.
The B’s start their weekend on Friday night at the First Niagara Center where they will take on the Sabres for the third time already this season. The two teams have split those meetings, with the Sabres embarrassing Boston in their own building on Jan. 31, only to have the Bruins bounce back this past Sunday with a much better effort that produced a road win.
In what’s supposed to be a helter-skelter schedule, the Bruins are coming off of two nights off after suffering a shootout loss to the Rangers on Tuesday. While Boston would have preferred the two points against New York, the Bruins did an admirable job of battling back against Henrik Lundqvist, erasing a three-goal deficit in the third period to pick up a point.
The Sabres, meanwhile, need to get something going. They’re just 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, and they find themselves in last place in the division, having already played three more games than Boston. The Sabres are tied for a conference-worst 11 points, despite already having played 14 games. If this tailspin continues, it may mean some franchise-altering changes could be in the future, and the Bruins would love nothing more than to add to that misery Friday night.
Puck drop from Buffalo is slated for 7 p.m.
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