Sunday, March 31, 2013

Game 34: Slow Start, But Solid Finish

The Boston Bruins closed out the month of March by playing a divisional game on Easter Sunday. They took on the Buffalo Sabres.

Normally, a game like this would not be much trouble for the Bruins. However, coming off a pathetic loss to the Philadelphia Flyers and having only defeated the Sabres once this season, this game was by no means a sure thing. 

This game was going to be a challenge for the B's. In all honesty, that is exactly what they needed. A rugged and tough opponent like Buffalo would be the perfect match-up for the Bruins to wake them up. Also, Thomas Vanek was out of the lineup for the Sabres, their current point leader. All positive signs to begin the game.

Anton Khudobin was back in net, which was not a surprise since he was the goaltender for Boston in the lone victory against the Sabres this season. Matt Bartkowski made his return to the lineup as well. As for him being involved in the Iginla trade, sorry about that (in the mind of Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli). 

In the first period, the Bruins came out slow once again. With that being said, they played at a decent level compared to some of their recent games. The Sabres had several great scoring chances, but Khudobin came up with some big saves for his team. There were no goals scored in the opening 20 minutes, but what we did see were a couple of embellishment penalties called (one on each team) and that is a rarity in today's NHL. Boston continued its streak of consecutive games without a first-period goal to seven. 

The Bruins spent some time killing off three minor penalties in the second period. They proved once again that they have a solid penalty killing unit. The problem is that they could not get any decent scoring chances. Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller made 22 saves through the first two periods, but it seemed that most of them were no issue for him. The Bruins lack of pressure led to them missing on the few scoring chances that they generated. 

In the third period, it was the Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton line that came through for the Bruins. That line accounted for two goals in the final 20 minutes. Krejci and Horton each recorded a goal and an assist while Bartkowski also recorded his first-career NHL point on Krejci's goal. That was all Khudobin needed as he stood on his head and preserved the 2-0 shutout victory.

The Bruins will head back home for Tuesday night's game against the Ottawa Senators.

Gold Star: Anton Khudobin...He finished the game with 26 saves, some of them being very key early on in the hockey game. Those saves kept the momentum on the Bruins side.

Black Star: Jordan Caron...He had a team-low 7:31 of ice time and did not do much during his minimal action. 

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