Sunday, December 21, 2014

Game 34: This is Awkward

Ummmmmm yeah. It really is a bit awkward. A hockey game played on a Sunday night? That is a very interesting scenario to say the least.

No matter how many football games that are on and no matter what the status is of particular fantasy teams during championship weeks (this guy), this night was all about hockey.

The Boston Bruins returned to the TD Garden on Sunday night against the Buffalo Sabres. After a mediocre road trip, the B's wanted to salvage this Christmas week and catch the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings. Every. Point. Matters. 

The encouraging news is that the B's took the first two meetings in Buffalo back in October. Yes, the Sabres are a smidge better this year, but they do not have the consistency. Boy, looks like the kettle is calling the pot black. Regardless, this divisional game should have been solid and worth watching.

Tuukka Rask got the start in net for the Bruins as he opposed Jhonas Enroth. Matt Bartkowski finally made his return to the lineup after the demotion of Joe Morrow to Providence. Unfortunately, Bartkowski's night did not last long.

In the first period, he lined up Sabres' captain Brian Gionta with a shot to the head that resulted in a fighting major and game misconduct. He will be hearing from the league offices shortly.

As for the rest of the period, the Bruins got out to an okay-ish start. What really stood out was the incredible puck control by the Black and Gold, an aspect of the game of hockey that is underrated. Dougie Hamilton put the B's on top early with a beauty of a power play goal, and the penalty killing was great after the Bartkowski situation. Overall, not too bad of a start. 

The second period, however, was a disaster. They let the Sabres dictate everything, including shots on goal. They eventually took the lead over Boston. If it were not for a tip in off the stick of Chris Kelly, the Bruins would have been trailing in the second frame. The Sabres played with an edge for the rest of the night and the B's could not contain it.

Eventually, Buffalo acquired a 3-2 lead in the third period. The echos coming from the TD Garden crowd was alarming because the product on the ice just was not there for most of the game. The lack of effort in the second half of the game was pathetic. With the extra attacker on late in the game, Hamilton saved their skin and knotted the tying goal to send the game into overtime. That set up Loui Eriksson to score yet another game-winning goal to give the Bruins the full two points. It was not pretty, but they got the win....much like another Boston sports team on this day. 

The Bruins will play their next game on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators.

Gold Star: Dougie Hamilton...All of a sudden, he is becoming the B's most valuable player. He racked up another three points in this game (2 goals and 1 assist) and is starting to throw his body around. 

Black Star: Tuukka Rask...Allowing three goals to a struggling team on home ice is not good, especially when you could have had a couple of those back.

Game Thirty-Four Box Score

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