It was a game of contrasts at the First Niagra Center tonight. The Boston Bruins played two very good periods tonight. Sadly, the Bruins that we know and love didn’t show up for the third period. The Buffalo Sabres were in last place going into tonight’s game. The Bruins are the division leaders. The opening period have Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller on his heels early. However, Drew Stafford got an early goal on Anton Khudobin to take a 1-0 lead. In that goal, the Bruins were playing the puck, not the man. The Sabres were on the defense for the majority of the first period, especially after Stafford tripped Brad Marchand.
Even know the Bruins lost, a small piece of NHL history was made tonight. Krejci gave a great feed to defenseman Dougie Hamilton and fired a one-timer that got past Miller. Dougie Hamilton got his first NHL goal tonight. Congratulations, Mr. Hamilton. I will never call you Doogie again. “That was a lot of fun, I think.” offered a very happy Hamilton. “A dream come true for me.” The second period was more punishment heaped on the Sabres. Rich Peverley, with a great connection with Dennis Seidenberg got his second goal of the season. (It was also Hamilton’s second two point game this season.) Things seemed to be going well for Boston.
The Bruins got called for a Too Many Men on the Ice, but went to 4 on 4 when Steve Ott was called for interference. The fans went from apathetic to hostile in the second period. It looked like the Bruins were playing like they were trying to get their coach fired. The only serious cheer that came up from the fan base was the announcement of one minute left to play. The natives were restless in Buffalo. The Sabres needed to energize themselves in the third period or suffer a rather humiliating loss at home. In the third period, Buffalo did just that.
The Boston went into coast mode. That’s normally not a good idea with a one goal lead, and especially dangerous when facing a desperate team like Buffalo. Tyler Myers got one past Khudobin to tie it up at two. Christian Ehrhoff put another one past Khudobin a little later to put the Sabres ahead (sadly for good) at 3-2. The Bruins were failing horribly in the neutral zone. While the Bruins were making things happen in the first two periods, Ryan Miller made some outstanding saves to keep the Sabres in the game. In the third period, the Sabres were making things happen, and another Bruins defensive collapse led to three unanswered goals in the final period. Cody Hodgson brought in that last goal. This one can’t be blamed on Khudobin, but the failings in the neutral zone.
The Bruins are now 8-2-2. Both regulation losses have come from Buffalo. The Bruins have allowed only eight goals in the third period, regrettably seven of them are also from Buffalo. I’m sure the chirping from the Buffalo fans will be loud and mighty until the next time we meet the Sabres.