Every Bruins fan will remember where they were the night of November 12, 2011.
In what was expected to be just a normal, hard-fought divisional game between the Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres, it turned out to be the beginning of something much bigger.
During the game, Milan Lucic "trucked" Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller as both were approaching a lose puck. That set off some fireworks in the following games that featured these two squads. After taking all that they can handle, the Sabres loaded up this off-season.
Buffalo traded Derek Roy away for one of the biggest agitators in the game: former Dallas Star forward Steve Ott. They also signed free agent tough guy John Scott. The Sabres clearly parted ways with skill in exchange for toughness. Would Thursday be the night that they used it?
Just so the Bruins were not caught off guard, Lane MacDermid was inserted into the line-up in place of a struggling Chris Bourque. He is a minus-4 with no points in six games so far this season. Adam McQuaid made his return to the line-up after missing the last two games.
We finally got our answer to a question that most people felt was obvious. Scott dropped the gloves with Shawn Thornton and actually handled him pretty well. In fact, Thornton left immediately after the fight and did not return to the game. Aside from that incident, nothing out of the ordinary. Just the normal chippiness of a hockey game between two divisional rivals.
After a scoreless first period, the second period saw an explosion of three goals from each team. In the final period, the Sabres outscored the Bruins 4-1, due largely in part to a hat trick from Sabres forward Thomas Vanek. Buffalo took round one with a final score of 7-4.
The game was actually closer than the score indicated. The B's just fell apart in the third period. They were bad defensively and they could not finish their scoring chances. Whether it was due to fatigue or being out-worked, Boston will not make an excuse. The Bruins will be back on the ice Saturday when they travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs.
Gold Star: Brad Marchand...He finished with two goals on the night and was one of the few forwards on the ice willing to charge the net. He needed a game like this.
Black Star: Zdeno Chara....He will want to forget about this game as soon as possible. He finished with a minus-3 and three giveaways.