Tonight’s matchup was not an easy one, facing the Eastern Division’s hottest team. It took almost 22 minutes to break the stalemate, but following Vanek’s first of three goals on the night, the floodgates opened wide. The game ended with 11 total goals, 7 of them in the Sabres’ favor.
John Scott and Shawn Thornton were quick to drop the gloves in the first period and Scott came away the victor, sending Thorton to the locker room for the rest of the night. Scott -1 Bruins – 0.
For the majority of the first period, the Boston Bruin’s forecheck had me worried. Needless to say, that is not a good feeling when you’re hoping to end a four game slide. I’ve notice a few things about the Buffalo Sabres through the first six games this season. In their own zone, the Sabres have a hard time clearing the puck and they are usually on the receiving end of odd-man rushes. Their less than stellar 2-3-1 record is proof enough. While there were a few of these moments in the game, the Sabres were able to persevere.
When the B’s went up by two halfway through the second period, the little voice in my head chimed in with “What do you know, a typical Sabres second period.” But that was quickly silenced with a power play goal by Thomas Vanek and then the equalizer from Tyler Ennis.
Quickly responding to the Bruin’s fourth goal, Alexander Sulzer stepped up and put away his first of the season with a rocket from just inside the blue line.
Our defense wasn’t pretty. But once again, the top line was dazzling. Arguably the best in the league right now, the trio of Vanek, Cody Hodgson, and Jason Pominville are reading one another’s minds and will be a dominant force for the remaining 41 games. Recording his 8th career hat trick, Vanek is now leading the NHL with 15 points.
Ryan Miller has taken me on a roller-coaster ride that I have not enjoyed; making some phenomenally clutch saves, while letting ‘gimmies’ slip through (need I remind anyone of Tuesday’s overtime heartbreaker). But tonight, Miller did not disappoint. The goals the Bruins scored came from defensive breakdowns and shifty one-timers and although he gave up four, I call it redemption. After the Sabres took the lead in the third period, Miller was absolutely lights out.
The boys in blue and gold (and white – but let’s not split hairs) put on quite a show tonight. Some defensive missteps added to the anxiety, but key penalty kills and some fancy stick work silenced the TD Garden. Satisfaction at its finest. I would have loved to watched a blowout, but the Buffalo Sabres’ victory tonight was decisive and put a halt to their losing streak.
Embrace your first L Boston. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope it was good for you too.
Check back for an in-depth recap of tonight’s game and of course, our game puck that will be awarded tomorrow.