Despite controlling the play for most of the game and out-shooting their opponents 39-32, the Bruins only managed to get one shot past Ryan Miller (38 saves) as the Bruins fell to the Buffalo Sabres in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY on Thursday night. Mark Recchi was the Bruins' lone goal scorer, while Thomas Vanek and Craig Rivet found the back of the net for the home team.
The Sabres drew first blood 4:52 into the game. Derek Roy got Matt Hunwick to over-commit in the neutral zone to create a 3 on 2 break into the attacking zone. Roy took the puck in wide and Thomas Vanek trailed Roy in the slot. Roy slid the puck back to Vanek and beat Tuukka Rask for the early 1-0 Buffalo lead.
After a few questionable hits by both teams, emotions boiled over 15:14 into the game when a 5 on 5 minor dust-up ensued. Milan Lucic was looking to swap punches with Toni Lydman after Lydman speared Lucic away from the play, but unfortunately Toni Lydman's sense of self-preservation is larger than his heart and he cowardly ducked and skated away from the enraged Lucic. Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic both received 4 minutes for their actions during the scrum, while Lydman, Steve Montador, and Raffi Torres all received roughing minors and notorious pest Patrick Kaleta received a 10 minute misconduct for his part in the altercation.
Mark Recchi knotted it up at 1-1 on a power play goal at 9:30 of the second period. With Toni Lydman off for cross checking, Zdeno Chara took a shot from the point. Ryan Miller stopped Chara's drive, but left a big rebound in the slot for an opportunistic Mark Recchi, who beat Miller up high.
Buffalo regained the lead less than 5 minutes later at 14:10. Tim Kennedy wheeled around in the Bruins' zone while a number of spoked-B crested jerseys chased after him. Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paile both converged on Kennedy, leaving Craig Rivet wide open at the left point. Rivet let loose with a slapper that beat Tuukka Rask to make it 2-1.
The Bruins were never able to get anything going in the third period as they they took 4 minor penalties in the period and only registered 6 shots on goal.
- Assistant Coach Craig Ramsay was taken to the hospital before tonight's game and was diagnosed with the flu. Assistant Coach Doug Houda was behind the bench in his place for tonight's game.
- Former BC Eagle Nathan Gerbe was a scratch for tonight's game. Sorry, you must be at least this tall to ride the playoff roller coaster.
- The penalty box official made a mistake and let Zdeno Chara out of the box after only serving 2 minutes on a 4 minute double minor penalty. Oops. Chara was returned to the box after the next whistle.
- The Bruins registered 24 shots on net in the second period.
- ....then only put 6 shots on net in the third.
- Ryan Miller was steady, but the Bruins need to make him work more. They put 38 shots on net, but it is hard to say that Ryan Miller needed to be amazing tonight.
- It seems like I have written that same opening paragraph about 30 times this season.
- The Sabres out-hit the B's 41-25
- Tuukka Rask made 30 saves in his NHL playoff debut.
- Zdeno Chara logged a game-high 27:07 of ice-time tonight, including some time that he was not supposed to be on the ice after the penalty box official let him out early.
- The Bruins and Sabres will be back at it in Game 2 in Buffalo on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 (NBC)
- For more on tonight's game from a Buffalo perspective, check out Die By The Blade.