Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, left, stops a shot by Buffalo Sabres' Maxim Afinogenov (61), of Russia, during the first period of the NHL hockey game at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
As seen on NESN -- Clarke MacArthur, in only his first game with Buffalo this season, scored the game-winning goal at 3:16 of overtime and gave the Sabres a 2-1 win to even the season's series between the two teams at 1-1.
"I thought it was a real good road game," said an obviously frustrated Bruins head coach Claude Julien of a game where penalites at crucial times put the B's behind the eight ball. "But again, we seem to be getting the bad breaks."
Despite the arrival of Tuukka Rask and his 6-1-0 record from the American League's Providence Bruins, the Black & Gold's folk hero/goalie Tim Thomas took the cage against the powerful, but hurt, Sabres. Buffalo's lineup was missing names like Kalinin, Mair, Pratt, Spacek and Numinen.
Wearing their home black jerseys with gold trim (with the Sabres wearing their road whites against divisional opponents in November), Boston and Buffalo slowly renewed acquaintances in their pivotal Northeast Division showdown.
After gaining early momentum with a combination of puck possession and physical play, the Bruins Marc Savard scored his third goal of the year off a nice pass by Glen Murray to make the score 1-0, Boston, at 8:07 of the first.
Unlike many of their recent games, Boston maintained control of the game throughout the first stanza, and thanks again to Thomas and his nine saves, the B's had a lead going into the first intermission.
Although they did not score, the Bruins seemed to have transferred that momentum into the second frame, too. As such, Buffalo had difficulties getting anything started through almost 16 minutes because of Boston's intense play.
But, with B's defenseman Zdeno Chara in the box for a controversial penalty, and Buffalo's Tomas Vanek directly in front of the Bruins goalie, the Sabres Ales Kotalik beat Thomas with the game tying goal at 15:50.
"I think Z got two penalties for being too strong," said a frustrated Boston defenseman Aaron Ward post game.
Boston continued to pour pucks on Buffalo's Ryan Miller, but the big American goalie matched his smaller American counterpart down the ice and continued his own stellar play as the game progressed well into the third. However, a late (and also controversial) high-sticking penalty to Ward sent a scare through the Hub of Hockey, but Boston held on for sudden death overtime.
It looked as if the Bruins would force a shootout, but Clarke MacArthur, the AHL's leading scorer who was just brought up from Rochester, shook loose of the Boston defence, received a pass in the slot and shot the puck by a Boston skater and Thomas (who finished with 27 saves) to send the B's to the airport losers of three straight.
"Loses are all frustrating in their own way," said Thomas after the game, "But you can't get too far down because we are doing a lot of things right.
"We played well in every area, but we didn't get the results on the scoreboard."