The third period seems to be the Boston Bruins favorite period to play. During this now five-game win streak, the Bruins have unloaded in the third period in each of those games. On Saturday, they put up three goals in the final 20 minutes to defeat the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 6-2.
The B's are now above five hundred (8-7-0) for the first time this season. Despite being tied for fourth in the Northeast Division, Boston holds the league's best +/- differential with a +17.
Tim Thomas got the start in goal on Saturday as he opposed another Vezina Trophy winner in Ryan Miller. Andrew Ference missed the game with a lower body injury and he was replaced by Steven Kampfer. Rich Peverley returned to the line-up after missing the last two games with an undisclosed injury. Zach Hamill once again played for the Bruins, making Benoit Pouliot the healthy scratch.
Thomas Vanek put the Sabres on top early after shooting the puck off of the back of Thomas causing the puck to bounce into the goal. Later on in the first period, Milan Lucic charged into Miller chasing a puck that got away from him. Tempers rose momentarily, however that was the turning point for the Bruins.
Boston went on to score six straight goals. Tyler Seguin had two goals in this game, a player who I predicted would score 30 goals this season. His two goals against the Sabres were goals 10 and 11. Fifteen games in and he is already more than a third of the way there. Peverley, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly, and Nathan Horton also scored goals for the B's.
As the game went on, the play on the ice became more chippy. Patrick Kaleta got into it with several Bruins, including Shawn Thornton. Both were given ten minute misconducts at the end of the game. Marc-Andre Gragnani added a late power play goal for Buffalo.
Patrice Bergeron and Johnny Boychuk each got credited with an assist that should have been talked about more than the goals they assisted. Bergeron set up Seguin's second goal by drawing three defenders and passing the puck behind his back for Seguin to blast home. Boychuk assisted Horton's goal by chipping the puck off the glass and that led to a breakaway. Just great plays by skilled players. Another strong effort by Thomas in goal supported by a strong offensive performance by his teammates helped cap of this victory.
Following the game, Miller had some strong words for Lucic regarding the incident when he charged into him chasing a puck: "I just wanted to say what a gutless piece of **** he is. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he played. That was gutless."
Not only does everyone in this city see him as a tough and solid player, but every team in the league believes that as well. I am not excusing what he did. But let's be honest right now; it was a sudden play and his natural reaction was to step into a hit. Did anyone forget that you swiped your stick at him after? Don't react that way because you got pulled from the game. This trash talk will set up some games between these two teams where the actual sport of hockey will not be the focal point and that is unfortunate
Daniel Paille is still listed as day-to-day after nose surgery. His status for the Bruins next game is not yet known. They will host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
Gold Star: Tyler Seguin (2 goals, 1 assist, +3 rating, 4 shots on goal)...What else can we say about this kid? The future of the franchise is here right before our eyes.
Black Star: Jordan Caron...He was the only Bruin who finished with a -1 rating. Coming off of two huge games prior to the Sabres game, he did not play a strong game to follow them up.