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Your Boston Bruins traveled to Buffalo for their first meeting of the season with the new look Sabres. The Bruins looked choppy and out of sync for most of the game, and were lucky to be tied at 1 going into the third period. What makes a good team? Resiliency? Sure. Top teams are able to dig deep when things are not going their way. Talent? Of course. The Bruins have depth that some teams can only dream about. Leadership? Well… on the ice they certainly do. Don’t get me started about the
clowns suits upstairs. How about being able to eke out a victory when you play, let’s say.. sloppy hockey. That’s what happened tonight as the B’s hung in there until they woke up and got it going to finally secure the 3-1 victory.
It looked like the boys spent this afternoon having some wobbly pops on Chippewa Street as opposed to their afternoon naps. Keith Kinkaid got the nod in net and was opposed by Craig Anderson for the Sabres. The Bruins were asked to wear their home blacks as the Sabres sported their white on white reverse retro uniforms. Someone should tell the powers that be that with the all-white pants, the mesh venting makes it looks like they are wearing diapers from different angles. Just trying to help you out.
The Sabres got out in front when Tage Thompson stashed one past Kinkaid shorthanded just 5 minutes into the game. Thompson broke in alone vs. 3 Bruin “defenders” (the B’s were once again experimenting with a 5F PP1) and dragged the puck backhand/forehand and past Kinkaid’s left leg with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and David Pastrnak giving chase.
Kinkaid played great tonight and with no sequence better than the one below later in the game. I’m talking a personal highlight reel, you’re going to want to watch it with the family during the holidays type of sequence. I don’t know what star he got tonight (Editor’s Note: He received the 2nd star), but if I had a vote it would have been for first. Have yourself a Saturday with that Happy Gilmore mask Mr. Kinkaid!
That score held until the end of the 2nd period when Bergeron cashed in on the power play. Pasta bunted the puck over to Brad Marchand on the RW half wall and Marchand let it go at the net. The rebound popped to Bergy cruising the slot and just as casual as you please, The Captain corralled the puck with his skate and put in the tying goal on his backhand.
The poor puck management at times made this game tough to watch. The game had no flow as the Bruins were having tough times generating zone time and working their cycle game. On the defensive side, the Sabres were having easy entries into the BOS zone and this game could have been very lopsided if not for Kinkaid.
In the opening minutes of the 3rd the Bruins finally started to look right as they had their 5 man rotation going and were keeping the puck in the BUF zone for long stretches. Even though they had a number of high quality scoring opportunities, they still weren’t able to cash in. Jake Zboril (he changed his first name from Jakub a few weeks ago) got his first NHL goal on a beauty of a drag-snap with about 8 minutes gone in the period. Tomas Nosek dragged the puck through traffic on the RW wall and found his countryman walking in from the LW point. Zboril let it go from just above the circle and he beat Anderson under the glove with Nick Foligno providing a screen with the net drive. I hope they saved the puck for the kid, first NHL goal and it goes on the scoresheet as a GWG.
Bergy closed out the scoring with his second of the game when he and Marchand had a shift with Pastrnak that showed just how electric they can be together. Marchand dug the puck off the wall in the neutral zone and fed Bergeron crossing the red line. Bergy got a skate on the puck and it popped up to waist level where he fungoed it ahead to Pastrnak entering the BUF zone. Pasta caught the over-the-shoulder pass on the blade of his stick and made a hard pivot to the RW wall in the zone. He then laid a backhand pass to Marchand who was following the play and Marchy dropped a backhand to Bergeron in the high slot. Bergy swept the puck stick side to put the final nail in the Sabres’ coffin. The BUF coaching staff challenged the play (I mean at this point why not) and this might have been the quickest review I’ve ever witnessed at any level of hockey. After review, the goal is good.
So there you have it Dear Reader. The Bruins were outshot, were beaten at the face-off dot, looked out of sorts and were chasing the score until midway through the 3rd, all while playing in front of their 3rd string goalie.
Yup, just like HC Jim Montgomery drew it up. Good teams find a way to win.
Up next the B’s welcome in the Vancouver Canucks at the TD Garden tomorrow night.
You can read more about Brownie in his bio down below or follow him on Twitter @Abrow28