As Seen on NESN – The Boston Bruins fell to the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in overtime in Sunday night’s game at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, thus keeping the Sabres playoff hopes alive. The Bruins, however, earned a point for their efforts, tying them in the standings with the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I thought the guys, for the most part, played really strong for the whole game,” said Shawn Thornton. “It’s our third game in four nights, and I thought we battled; I thought the effort was there.”
The Sabres quickly got a power play when Milan Lucic earned a high-sticking double-minor penalty at 2:14 after his stray stick caught Derek Roy in the mouth.
However, David Krejci found the back of the Buffalo net during a two-on-one breakaway, scoring a shorthanded goal at 2:33 to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead.
The B’s had their chance on the power play at 6:33 when Ales Kotalik was called for hooking, but they failed to get the puck past Ryan Miller once again.
Five-on-five play was hard to come by during the first minutes of the game, and with Glen Murray in the box on a goaltender interference call, Tony Lydman tied the game at one with a power play goal at 10:15.
Things calmed down during the second half of the period, but while no penalties were called, the two teams still continued their physical play and headed off the ice for the first break with the game tied at one.
“We knew…we had to be a little bit better on the walls,” said Thornton. “[If] we could have capitalized a little bit more, maybe the score would have been a little different.”
Alex Auld, in goal for his first game in two weeks, was called upon to protect the Black & Gold net time and again as Buffalo dominated the shot count in the beginning of the second period, but the goalie stood strong against the desperate Sabres.
Still without a shot in the period, the B’s got a chance to turn the game in their favor with an elbowing penalty to Patrick Kaleta at 7:50.
But a short four-on-four, followed by a power play for the Sabres, ensued when the Bruins were called for having too many men on the ice at 9:11. Jeff Hoggan, called up yesterday from the Providence Bruins, served the two-minute penalty.
Andrej Sekera garnered a holding penalty at 16:22, so the Black & Gold would get one final man advantage to end the period, but Miller refused to let any pucks past him.
“Our power play’s been good for us, and we had some opportunities tonight as well,” said head coach Claude Julien. “[We didn’t have] as many as we had before, but again, teams are looking at our power play lately, the way it’s been playing.”
The score was still tied at one, but Buffalo would start the final 20 minutes of the game on a power play, as Phil Kessel entered the penalty box for holding with 1:22 remaining in the second period.
The Bruins almost had a game-winning goal courtesy of Kessel at 14:43, but Miller clamped down on the puck in the middle of a scrum around the Sabres net.
Another opportunity came in the form of a penalty to Adam Mair for interference at 6:18, giving the Black & Gold a power play.
The Bruins were giving the Sabres a taste of their own medicine – Buffalo had only one shot for the period at the halfway mark – but the B’s were having difficulty in getting a goal as well.
Fans of both teams went into a frenzy in the last few minutes of the third period as Auld made some very big saves, very heart-stopping saves to keep the score tied at one and force overtime.
“He played a great game,” said Coach Julien. “He had no chance at all on both the goals that were scored against him, so, definitely, he kept us in and faced a lot of shots, some quality shots.”
Sekera, however, found a hole while Auld was screened and won the game 2-1 for the Sabres just 39 seconds into overtime.
“[We] probably turned too many pucks over in the neutral zone, but overall I thought we battled hard and again, it’s one of those weeks where you pick up seven out of eight points,” said Coach. “Not a bad week.”
The one point earned in the game upped the B’s point tally, which is always useful at this point in the season, but the general mood from the Black & Gold entourage still seemed a little down.
“I’ll take the point,” ended Thornton, “but I definitely would have rather had two.”
1 - 0 BOS
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 BUF
Hi stick - double minor
Interference - Goalkeeper