The Boston Bruins avoided a third consecutive frustrating loss Thursday night, rallying from two goals down to knock off the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout at the First Niagara Center.
The 3-2 Bruins victory kicked off a home-and-home that comprises the final two meetings of the season between the Atlantic Division foes. Boston can clinch the season series with a win Saturday night at TD Garden.
But before that, let’s take a spin through some notes from Thursday night.
— The Bruins have been a far better team away from Causeway Street this season. Their latest win improved them to 16-5-3 in road games, compared to an 11-13-3 home record.
The Washington Capitals are the only Eastern Conference team with more road wins (17) than Boston this season.
— Neither team could find the back of the net during a five-minute overtime period that featured some excellent defense and goaltending on both sides.
Each team killed off a penalty in the extra session, and Bruins coach Claude Julien was particularly complimentary of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, who didn’t leave the ice during the Sabres’ two-minute power play.
“They deserve that recognition,” Julien said in a postgame interview with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “Zdeno, I think, had a real strong game (Thursday night), offensively in moving the puck and defensively, again. Both he and Seids stayed out there the whole time on the penalty kill. We just had to change our forwards. They did a great job of getting in the shooting lane. They had great sticks, didn’t give the other team much.
“So, our guys did a great job there, and obviously (the Sabres) must have done the same thing at the other end, because we couldn’t muster up a goal, either, in that 4-on-3.”
Indeed they did. Buffalo goalie Chad Johnson, a former Boston backup, made the save of the game to rob Patrice Bergeron with the Bruins on the man advantage.
— Speaking of defensemen, Bruins blueliner Adam McQuaid skated with the team Thursday morning for the first time since suffering an upper body injury during a Jan. 5 loss to the Capitals.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” McQuaid, who returned to the ice for the first time Monday, told reporters, via BostonBruins.com. “Obviously, it was a big step (Thursday) to get out there with the guys and just continue to progress from there.”
The 29-year-old has missed Boston’s last 13 games, but his return to practice indicates he should soon be ready to resume game action.
“This was his first day with the team, and to get some movement in, to be able to pass and be part of it, is obviously a step in the right direction,” Julien said, via BostonBruins.com. “So, we’ll continue to evaluate him from there.”
— Brad Marchand tied the game in the third period with perhaps his most impressive goal of the season, possessing the puck for 12 seconds and traveling nearly the length of the ice before slipping a shot past Johnson.
“I just tried to cycle back and get a little more time,” Marchand explained to NESN rinkside reporter Nikki Reyes. “I knew they would probably be changing — they were out there for a long (power play). I got some speed, and luckily I threw the puck on net and it went in.”
Marchand leads all Bruins with 23 goals this season and has scored eight over his last eight games.
Thumbnail photo via Gary Wiepert/The Associated Press
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