By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
As the Bruins were riding a two-game losing streak, they looked to flip the script when they hosted the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. This would be the sixth and final time the two teams faced off against each other, and so far, the Sabres led the series 4-1. The last time these two teams met was January 20th; the Sabers won that game 4-2. While Boston was riding a two-game losing streak and trying to get back in the win column, Buffalo was also looking to do the same, as they were coming off a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tim Thomas would get the start for Boston as he got the night off against Montreal, and the starting goaltender for Buffalo would be Ryan Miller. Boston would be without Andrew Ference, Steven Kampfer, and Tyler Seguin. Buffalo would be without Jochen Hecht, Patrick Kaleta, Patrick Lalime, and Mike Weber.
Bruins Get on the Board First
Boston started the first period looking to make some noise, and they did just that. Just three minutes into the period, Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves against Cody McCormick. McCormick would land some bombs against Campbell, and the two went to the box for five. The Bruins, riding momentum from the fight, used that to get themselves going. Six minutes later, Milan Lucic found Nathan Horton skating to the net, and Horton put Boston on the board. It was Horton’s 19th goal of the season, and Boston looked to keep the momentum going. As the period continued, both teams would each get one powerplay, but both teams couldn’t execute. The period quickly came to an end, and Boston rode a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Boston outshot Buffalo 15-11 and looked to extend their lead going into the second period.
Buffalo answers with big 2nd Period
The second period started, and things were scrappy between the two. Both teams would combine for five penalties before the halfway mark (3 by Boston, 2 by Buffalo). Both teams couldn’t execute on their respective powerplays, including a 5 on 3 opportunity for Buffalo, and it was still 1-0 Boston at the halfway mark. Even though Buffalo was outshooting Boston, Boston would find a way to score again. At the 8:34 mark, Mark Recchi tipped the puck in after it bounced off Ryan Miller’s pad, and it was 2-0 Boston. Just 27 seconds after that, Tyler Ennis from Buffalo found the back of the net and was able to put Buffalo on the board.
Now it seemed as if Buffalo had momentum on their side, and they did. At the 2:32 mark, Buffalo would have its third powerplay opportunity of the period and looked to tie the game at two. With 16 seconds left on their powerplay, Thomas Vanek snuck the puck past Tim Thomas’s pad, and it was a 2-2 tie. A little under a minute to play, there were two fights between the two teams. The first one happened between Adam McQuaid and Paul Gaustad, McQuaid landed some good pops, and both went to the box. The second fight included Milan Lucic facing off against Cody McCormick for his second fight of the night. Lucic landed two jabs and dropped McCormick. The horn sounded, and it was the end of the second. Even though it was tied 2-2, Buffalo dominated Boston in the shot column in the second period, 22-8. If Boston wanted to win this game, they had to stay out of the box and get more shots on Ryan Miller.
Tied after 3
Boston would do just that, as just 2:18 into the third period Zdeno Chara lasered a slap shot off Ryan Miller’s pad, Campbell rebounded the puck and put it past Miller, and it was 3-2 Boston. Just one minute later, Boston would give momentum right back to Buffalo when Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi were both called for penalties 17 seconds apart. Buffalo was on another 5 0n 3 powerplay and had a golden opportunity to tie the game. Buffalo was able to take advantage of the opportunity when Tim Connoly bounced the puck off Chara’s skate and into the back of the net. With the game now tied at three, it looked like whoever scored next would go on to win this game. As the period progressed, both teams each had a couple of great opportunities to take the lead, but neither could do so. The final horn shortly sounded, and the game was going to sudden death. Unlike the second period, Boston kept pace with Buffalo in the shot department, only getting outshot 8-7.
Bruins lose in a Heartbreaker
With 2:07 left in Overtime, Rich Peverley almost hoisted Boston to victory when he rang a shot off the post, and it almost trickled in, but the game still went on. Fifty seconds later, Nathan Gerbe skated down the middle of the ice, shot a puck from the blue line, and as it bounced off Tim Thomas’s pad, Brad Boyes scooped up the rebound and put the puck past Thomas. Buffalo went on to win 4-3. Boston was able to squeak out a point, but it was a disappointing loss. The three stars of the game were Brad Boyes, Tyler Ennis, and Nathan Horton. Even though Tim Thomas wasn’t listed as one of the three stars, I think he should’ve. He saved 41/45 shots and kept the Bruins in this game. The Bruins would face the Islanders the next night in New York, riding a three-game losing streak now.