Giving the Bruins their due, they blew the Buffalo Sabres away last night. After weathering the storm of 16 shots in the first period put on by the Sabres, Niklas Svedberg settled into brick wall mode and released the Bruins defense to go take some retribution on the Sabres goal. The Bruins defense scored 3 goals from the point, all of them at even strength.
The Bruins did so many things right last night, it almost makes you want to forget the many ugly cracks in the mask from the previous six games. The truth is, the Buffalo Sabres are a dismal team that lacks tools in every area of the game. The Bruins took advantage of all those areas last night and bullied the Sabres into submission. The top Buffalo line of Gionta, Moulson, and Ennis went a collective -9 in the game. The Sabres were coming off playing the night before, Jhonas Enroth played a fabulous game the night before in a 1-0 loss to the Panthers and managed to stop 32 of 36 shots against the Bruins. The Bruins gave the Sabres seven power plays and limited them to 5 shots and no goals. The highlight of the Sabres game was to shutdown the Bruins during 5 power plays though the Bruins moved the puck at will and dominated in the zone during their power plays.
The Bruins did go back to the basics of collapsing down in front of Svedberg on defense. They blocked shots, made snappy transition passes to clear the zone and on the penalty kill seemed quicker on the puck and stronger on the stick than the Sabres. The only truly negative moment of the game was the injury to Kevan Miller, who seemed to injury his right shoulder after falling awkwardly after beating Nicolas Deslauriers in the games only fight in the first period and he didn't return to the game. Doug Hamilton and Zdeno Chara bookended two first period goals from different point positions and the Bruins finished the Sabres on goals by Torey Krug and Carl Soderberg in the second period. If not for the seven penalties the Bruins took during the course of the game, the fourth line may have gotten more 5 on 5 play as Greg Campbell and Dan Paille had most of their minutes on the ice on the penalty kill and this prevented Matt Fraser from getting much of a look during the game. Reilly Smith deserved assists for the two screens he provided on two of the goals as Enroth had trouble seeing the plays. Patrice Bergeron earned his 499 point as a Bruin to pull him into a tie with Adam Oates for thirteen position in best all time scorers on the team. It was good to see the defense give Svedberg the support they denied him against Colorado and bear down to help insure his shutout over the last ten minutes of the game.
Odd as it sounds, after seven games, Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg are the leading point scorers with 5 points a piece and the Bergeron line with Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith contribute in all areas of the ice when not on the scoresheet. I still believe the David Krejci line with Milan Lucic are looking for answers on the right side. Simon Gagne got his chance from beginning of game until end and while he didn't look out of place, didn't seem to add the certain something that's needed to make the line a growing concern night in, night out. I still believe Matt Fraser should have his shot on the right side with Krejci now that Krejci has returned from injury and Krejci himself seems to be getting better and stronger game by game now. The Bruins didn't dominate the face-off circle last night but did dominate in defensive draws in their own end. That's an improvement and one that supports their defensive game.
Next on the hit list is the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night back home in Boston. Hopefully, the Bruins will get a well deserved day off today as they have played 7 games in 11 days so far. The Sharks have not lost in regulation time and have been lighting the goal lamps at a torrid pace scoring 19 goals in their first 5 games.
Until Next Time!