Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Game Twenty: An Ugly Way To Get To Ten

In a game that was supposed to be built as a game where the Bruins were trying to extend their win streak quickly became an afterthought. The Buffalo Sabres were seemingly out to extract revenge on the B's Wednesday night. Why? In case the memory went away, Bruins forward Milan Lucic knocked out their franchise goaltender Ryan Miller with an alleged concussion back on November 12.

It was a hit that was only whistled for a two minute charging penalty. Nothing more. In my opinion, the league should not have even held a hearing with Lucic for the hit. However, Brendon Shanahan held the hearing and found nothing wrong with the hit, thus not suspending Lucic. If Shanahan (who suspends players left and right) found nothing wrong with the hit then their should not be an argument.

As far as the game, both the Sabres and Bruins came into the game where the winner would take over sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division. Lucic came into the game with only one point in his last five games. He looked to step up his game in this one. Tim Thomas got the start in goal once again in hopes of recording his third consecutive shutout.

Lucic dropped the gloves with Paul Gaustad on his first shift. The response from the Sabres immediately following the fight was crucial. They came out playing much harder than the Bruins in the first period. Buffalo had two power play goals, scored by Christian Ehroff and Thomas Vanek respectively.

The calls may have been a bit questionable, but they cannot use that as an excuse because you have to play through it as professionals. A small five-on-five scrum broke out after Gaustad charged into Brad Marchand.

In the scrum, Zdeno Chara (fighting) and Adam McQuaid (roughing) were sent to the box. Losing two defensemen for an extended period of time is costly. Robyn Regehr (fighting) and Corey Tropp (roughing) of the Sabres were also sent to the box.

A much better period for the Bruins in the second period. They controlled the puck and started to make better plays with it. Tyler Seguin tied his career high in goals when he scored his 12th of the season on the power play. He blasted a slap shot past Buffalo goaltender Jhonas Enroth.

T.J. Brennan netted his first career NHL goal to put Buffalo back on top by two goals. Marchand pulled Boston back within one five minutes later. He took a hit at center ice but continued back into the play and he put the puck in the net after a deflected shot. Patrice Bergeron had an assist on both second period goals.

The game began to settle down even more for both teams during the third period. No one would even think that all of that fighting and physical play occurred during the first half of this game. Chara tied the game up at three on the power play. The score remained tied through the final 20 minutes and through overtime.

In the shootout, Thomas and Enroth held their opposition scoreless through the first four rounds. It was in the fifth round that Benoit Pouliot won the game for Boston by capitalizing on his shootout goal. Pouliot really struggled in the game against Montreal. His confidence is now back with him in a big way.

The victory extends Boston's win streak to ten games and it also gives them sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division. Their next game will be Friday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden.

Gold Star: Zdeno Chara (1 goal, 7 shots on goal)...He put so much pressure on the Sabres by being a big offensive presence. He also helped out Thomas by saving a sure goal.

Black Star: Gregory Campbell...When he has great games it is hard to notice. However, when he has a bad game it sticks out very much. He was not a great penalty killer in this game and was not as physical as we are used to seeing.

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