Boston Bruins struggle in their return home, fall to Sabres

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 10: Zdeno Chara
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 10: Zdeno Chara /

Last night’s game is exactly why you never look passed an opponent.  The Boston Bruins didn’t do enough to win the game, and lost out on two important points.

The Boston Bruins abbreviated four-game win streak is now over, at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres no less.  The Bruins allowed the team at the bottom of the standings to ultimately control the game, and in doing so, win the game.  Poor defensive plays and lapses in judgment in the offensive zone cost the Bruins the whole way.

1st period

Before the game began, fans were treated to a ceremonial puck drop in honor of Chinese Cultural Night.  Once the game was underway, it seemed the Bruins were in control of play.  After some offensive zone pressure, the Bruins went on the power play.  Nothing really happened on the man advantage and the score remained 0-0.

A scary moment for Sabres’ fans happened in the period, as BU alums Jack Eichel and Matt Grzelcyk got tied up behind the Bruins net.  Eichel’s right left bent awkwardly and he had to limp off the ice and did not return.  Towards the end of the period, the Bruins mounted some timely offensive pressure and had some decent chances but still couldn’t convert.  The period ended 0-0 with the Bruins leading in shots 7-5.

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Period 2

The second frame began with the Bruins drawing another penalty and getting the man advantage very early in the period.  Much like the first PP the Bruins did not have much and the Sabres had better opportunities while short handed.  The first goal of the game occurred after a David Pastrnak offensive zone turnover lead to an Evander Kane breakaway.  Kane beat Tuukka Rask gloveside to give the Sabres a 1-0 advantage.

About 5 minutes later, the Sabres doubled their lead as Scott Wilson knocked down a point shot and fired one past Rask to give the Sabres a surprising 2 goal lead.  Right after, a David Krejci turnover almost lead to the Sabres 3rd goal, but Benoit Pouliot hit the post on his breakaway attempt.

Things were looking up for the Bruins as a great centering pass from Jake DeBrusk found Ryan Spooner in front of the net and he deflected the puck past former Bruins and current Sabres goalie Chad Johnson to cut the lead to 1.  But, right before the period ended another Bruins offensive zone turnover, this time courtesy of Adam McQuaid, lead to a Sabres 3-on-1 counter attack and Benoit Pouliot didn’t miss this time and blasted home a one timer to give the Sabres a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.

3rd Period

In the beginning of the final period, the Bruins had an almost identical start.  They drew another early penalty, but not much happened.  Like the second period power play, the best opportunity belonged the Sabres as Ryan O’ Reilly forced a turnover behind the Bruins net, but Rask stond Benoit Pouliot to keep it a two goal game.

The Bruins had a huge chance to cut it to a one goal game, but Chad Johnson stopped Charlie McAvoy’s deflection from in front of the net.  As time was running out, the Bruins pulled Rask and scored with the 6 on 5 advantage.  David Backes tipped a Patrice Bergeron shot past Johnson to give the Bruins a slimmer of home.  But, with Rask pulled once again, Rasmus Ristolainen cleared the puck from deep in his defensive zone and scored on the empty net to give the Sabres a 4-2 victory over the Bruins.

Next: Should Bruins look to Rangers for a deal?

Short Shift

  • The Bruins struggled with puck management and offensive execution and that cost them tonight.
  • Chad Johnson continues his strong play in the TD Garden, raising his record to 12 wins and only 1 loss.
  • Boston’s PP was very ineffective tonight, and couldn’t take advantage of Buffalo’s poor penalty kill unit.
  • The Bruins forwards only had 12 shots tonight, an example of the lack of crispness from the offense tonight.
  • Next up, at New Jersey tomorrow night.