Week in Review
Things got back to normal this week with three games, two at Buffalo, and they finally returned to the Garden where they had not played since the last day of January. In all the Bruins went 1-1-1 for a total of 3 points. It was easily the Bruins most inconsistent week of play this season as they were fortunate to gain the points that they did. At the end of play Friday the Bruins still stood atop the Northeast Division with 18 points. They are one point ahead of Montreal with one game in hand, and two points ahead of Ottawa and Toronto, with two games in hand on each.
On Sunday night the B’s got a chance to avenge their only regulation loss of the season’s first three weeks when they visited Buffalo and Bruins killer Thomas Vanek. Despite the low goal total, this may have been one of the best Bruins offensive performances of the season as they peppered Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller with multiple shots and glorious scoring chances. Again, the Sabres got the better of the fisticuffs as Patrick Kaleta got the better of Gregory Campbell, and to make matters worse, Campbell was given a two-minute instigator penalty and a ten-minute misconduct. The ice started to tilt Boston’s way in the 2nd as they outshot Buffalo 10-5 as the teams traded goals with Brad Marchard putting the B’s up midway through and Tyler Ennis tying it late when he was left alone in front of Anton Khudobin. In the 3rd Patrice Bergeron scored on, of all things, a power play to put Boston up 2-1. Later David Krejci unselfishly fed Milan Lucic for an empty netter and a 3-1 final.
Tuesday the Bruins made their first Garden appearance in February and incredibly, their last home game until Feb 28. Things got off to a slow start as Carl Hagelin was the beneficiary of an amazing Rick Nash charge to the net and set up as he put the Rangers up 1-0. Henrik Lundqvist took over from there, turning aside shot after shot on his way to a 40 save performance. Tuukka Rask was not the equal of Lundqvist on this night, allowing soft goals to Derek Stepan in the 2nd and Anton Stralman two minutes into the 3rd for a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 Rangers lead. With things looked bleak a Rick Nash penalty and ensuing power play led the B’s first goal as Krejci beat Lundqvist one second after Nash exited the box to cut the lead to 3-1. Then with Rask pulled, the B’s 6-on-5 unit came up big time. Set up as power play would only with extra traffic in front of Lundqvist, Nathan Horton got the B’s to within one with 1:31 left. Marchand then knocked home a loose puck with 43 seconds left to tie it and give the Bruins one point. The Rangers would go on to win in a shootout highlighted by a spectacular shootout goal by Nash. But the loss felt more like a win as the point was salvaged. The B’s and Rangers completed their season series with each team gaining four points against the other.
Friday night the Bruins found themselves in Buffalo yet again for there third game of the young season with the Sabres, meaning that half of their games to date would be played against the two best goalies in hockey, Lundqvist and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller. For two periods the Bruins dominated play and led by Rookie Dougie Hamilton and his first NHL goal, took a 2-1 lead into the 3rd. The problem was, it was only a 2-1 lead. Ryan Miller kept Buffalo in the game as he was the only reason the game was that close. As the 2nd period ended the Sabres were booed off the ice and there was no reason to believe two points were not coming the Bruins way. Incredibly though, the Sabres badly outplayed the Bruins in the 3rd. An odd man rush led to the tying goal by Tyler Myers before Christian Ehrhoff gave Buffalo the lead with 10:58 remaining. Less than three minutes later Cody Hodgson gave the Sabres a two goal lead and the final score of a 4-2 win. Boston, who outshot Buffalo 29-16 through the first two period were held to three shots in the 3rd.
Player of the Week: Dennis Seidenberg
In an uneven week, Seidenberg gets the award for Week 4 based on his 4 assists and +2 rating for the week. He also averaged 25 minutes of ice time.
Opponent of the Week: Ryan Miller
Miller was the reason why Buffalo had any chance to come back on Friday night. While the rest of the Sabres took the first two periods off, Miller kept the Sabres close and had a relatively easy 3rd period in Buffalo’s 4-2 win. On Monday, Miller almost stole another game with 36 saves and 2 goals allowed in the Sabres loss to the Bruins.
Fun Fact of the Week:
The Bruins will go almost the complete month of February with only one home game. Since playing the Sabres at The Garden on Jan 31 until the Feb 28 game against Ottawa, the only other home game was the 4-3 shootout loss to the Rangers this past Tuesday. In theory the Bruins could go winless for the month of February at home and not drop at all in the standings.
The Week Ahead:
Sun Feb 17 at Winnipeg 6:00
Thur Feb 21 at Tampa Bay 7:30
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