The Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres this afternoon for the 2nd game of their homestand. After getting lit up by Bruce Cassidy in practice yesterday, the Bruins were expected to come out and blow the Sabres out of the building and dominate the lesser squad. Not exactly as Butchie drew it up, but the B’s come back to get the W (and the crucial 2 points) and hand Buffalo their 17th loss in a row with a 3-2 final score.
With Marchand joining Kuraly and DeBrusk in the NHL COVID Protocol, the Bruins had some shuffling of the lines up front. Frederic rode with Pastrnak on the Bergeron line, with the Krecji-Smith-Ritche line remaining the same as last game. Coyle centered Bjork and Senyshyn and Studnicka was the 4th line pivot with McKegg and Wagner on the wings. Jeremy Lauzon was back in the lineup for his first game action in over a month and Kampfer was in over Tinordi. Vezina/Calder dark horse candidate Dan Vladar was between the pipes as Halak will go tomorrow against the Devils.
Vladar didn’t make it easy on himself to start the game as he mishandled the puck and got the primary assist on Reinhart’s goal to put the Sabres up by 1 on an early power play.
Martin Brodeur he is NOT.
The Sabres took the 1-0 lead into the 2nd having played fairly even with the B’s for the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins held a slight statistical edge but they seemed slow and passive in their game play. During a delayed penalty on Buffalo, Grzelcyk put a wrister on net with Coyle providing the goalmouth screen to tie it up about halfway through the 2nd period. That was the 3rd goal scored with Coyle providing a screen in the last 2 games.
Maybe the message was starting to get through?
Less than 3 minutes later Buffalo went back up when Okposo scored his 2nd of the season. The Bruins 4th line couldn’t work the puck out of the zone and a rebound bounced directly to Okposo at the left post. A nifty one time backhand out of the air put the Sabres back up by a goal heading into the 3rd period. Buffalo outshot the Bruins 14-8 in the 2nd period and clearly dictated the pace of play.
This laissez-faire attitude carried over for the first few minutes of the final frame as the Bruins seemed content to let Buffalo dictate the tempo. Chuckie Bright Lights decided to put his mark on the game at the 5 minute mark by putting on a clinic in the Sabres’ end. With a complete lap around Buffalo’s net, he found Nick Ritchie where? IN FRONT OF THE NET to tie the game. The puck found Ritchie off a Buffalo skate, but good things happen where? IN FRONT OF THE NET!
Late in the period with both Ritchie and Krecji crashing the net, Craig Smith put home his 6th of the year from the slot to put the game away. Good to see Smitty get one here, his effort and compete level on the ice is second to none. Hard work pays off and you gotta love the Superman celly.
What an absolute gong show in Buffalo this year, Jack Eichel wants out and today they trade away Eric Staal for a 3rd and 5th in the draft while retaining 50% of his salary?? I don’t know how you spin that to the Buffalo faithful, but that’s not a good deal for the Sabres. Staal wanted out so bad that he even waived his ENTIRE NO TRADE CLAUSE; basically saying that whatever team that isn’t Buffalo that wants me: I’m down for it.
Even the NHL itself is getting in on trolling Buffalo.
- Vladar bounced back and had a strong game after his brain freeze early on.
- Penalty kill is looking sharp
- Secondary scoring : The Krecji line had a day
- Lackadaisical effort for good parts of the game.
- Even though it was an emphasis in practice, the Bruins went 0-5 on the PP. Ouch.
- Need better decision making with the puck. Giveaways outnumbered takeaways today.
- Karson Kuhlman had an MRI that showed no structural damage, he’s day to day.
- Buffalo’s last win was against the NJ Devils on 2/23
- NU Women’s hockey goalie Aerin Frankel won the Patty Kazmaier award to add to her already incredible hockey resume. Frankel is the third NU Husky and the fourth goalie to win the award since it’s inception. Congratulations to her and the entire NU squad.