The Bruins fell to the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in overtime Wednesday night in Buffalo. The game was the first for the Black and Gold since the almost two-and-a-half week Olympic break. Bruins’ stars Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Loui Eriksson and Zdeno Chara all represented their respective countries in the Game, and didn’t come home empty-handed.
Three medals later the Bruins found themselves in Buffalo to face the underperforming Sabres. Goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Ryan Miller played for their countries in the Olympics and neither would get the start; Chad Johnson and Jhonas Enroth would be between the pipes.
The Bruins fell behind early in this game 3-1 and eventually knocked the cobwebs out to score three unanswered goals to take the 4-3 lead. When leading a team that has struggled as much as the Sabres’ have this season, the game should have been an easy win for the spoked B’s. However the defensive struggles continued and Sabres’ Matt Moulson tied the game with 53 seconds remaining; and Matt D’Agostini scored the game winner just 22 seconds into overtime. Boston is notorious for quitting games before they’re won, and Wednesday night was no different. Lucic’s should-have-been game-winner was the beginning to the Bruins collapse. The young defensemen stopped skating, and saw unreliable goaltending let the game slip through their fingers.
Look for the Bruins to use this game as a practice round before the home stretch of the season begins. They got their feet wet Wednesday night, and got used to playing with each other again. With the dust cleaned off, the Bruins should come out hungry against the Caps Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins priority heading into the trade deadline continues to be defensive reliability following the loss of Dennis Seidenberg for the season. Look for Peter Chiarelli to make a move for an affordable veteran defenseman to fill the void.
While a loss to a last place team should always be avoided: this loss may have been a subtle wake-up call for the boys in black. While they didn’t have much help in net, the defense had a shoddy effort to say the least. Boston’s back check was almost nonexistent at times. The Bruins are set to face off against the Washington Capitals on Saturday in the Garden. The home crowd energy, along with the embarrassing loss to the Sabres, and return of Tuukka Rask should help put the wind in the Bruins’ sails as they try to finish the regular season strong. When the Bruins put in the full 60 minute effort, they are a top five team in the league; so let’s hope the loss to Buffalo serves as just a minor speed bump on the road to the Stanley Cup.