The Bruins scored three times in the first period including two shorthanded goals to chase Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth from the game and set the ground work for a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena in Buffalo on Wednesday night. Brad Marchand (SHG/first NHL goal), Patrice Bergeron (SHG), Blake Wheeler (1st goal of the season), Michael Ryder, and Milan Lucic (ENG) all found the back of the net in the Bruins' 7th victory of the season. Tim Thomas continued his stellar play in goal for the B's by making 33 saves and earning his 7th "W" of the year becoming the first goaltender in Boston Bruins franchise history to start a season 7-0-0.
After 29 games of waiting, Brad Marchand netted his first career NHL goal to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal 3:32 into the game. With the Bruins on the kill after a hooking call on Michael Ryder, Marchand got caught out of position and stuck in the neutral after an aggressive move to make a hit. The puck hugged the boards and leaked out near the blueline, where Marchand picked up the puck and broke in alone, skated to between the circles, and beat Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth down low on the stick side.
The Bruins added a second shorthanded goal at 14:54 of the first period. This time it came off of the stick of Patrice Bergeron with Dennis Seidenberg in the box for a hold. Patrice tracked down a rebound at the right circle and fired a shot that beat Enroth for his second goal of the season. Brad Marchand and Gregory Campbell picked up the helpers on Bergeron's shorty.
The B's stretched their lead to 3-0 with 3:06 left in the first period on Blake Wheeler's first goal of the season. Michael Ryder set up in "Gretzky's Office" and slid a pass to Blake Wheeler at the top of the crease. Wheeler's quick one-timer from the doorstep evaded Enroth and spotted the B's a 3-goal, first period lead.
The Bruins filed off the ice to the dressing room after the first period with a 3-0 lead and the Sabres heard a chorus of boos rain down on them after the horn blew at the end of the period.
After giving up 3 goals on 12 shots in the opening period, Jhonas Enroth took a seat at the end of the bench and Patrick Lalime was sent in to defend the Buffalo cage.
Michael Ryder made it 4-0 just 2:11 into the second period on just the second shot that Patrick Lalime faced. Ryder took possession of the puck in his own zone and went end to end along the right wing boards. Ryder's stick was lifted by a Buffalo defender while trying to get a shot off, which caused Lalime to go to the ice. Ryder stayed with it and tucked his second effort between the left pad of Lalime and the near goal post.
With frustration riding high for the Sabres, things finally boiled over with just over 8 minutes remaining in the middle period. Patrick Kaleta laid a hit on Mark Stuart along the boards. The hit looked clean, but it looked like Stuart was looking for any opportunity to mix it up with the known pest. Stuart threw Kaleta to the ice with a face wash move and gave Kaleta a few shoves as he was trying to get to his feet. Stuart's action drew the ire of Chris McCormick, who sprinted across the ice to jump the B's blueliner. McCormick quickly dropped the gloves and began throwing punches before Stuart gathered his bearings and threw his share of haymakers. 24 penalty minutes were handed out as a result of the scrap. Stuart was given a 2 minute minor for roughing and a 5 minute major for fighting. McCormick was tagged with the same plus a 10 minute misconduct.
With Blake Wheeler in the box for slashing, Buffalo got on the board on a goal from Drew Stafford with 3:21 left in the second period. Stafford's point blank shot was stopped by Tim Thomas, but he jammed home his second effort to net his 4th goal of the season and make it 4-1.
The rough stuff continued just moments after Stafford's goal. Milan Lucic's hit on Mike Grier drew the attention of Patrick Kaleta who grabbed Lucic. Lucic in turn threw a short gloved punch at Kaleta and a scrum ensued. Lucic earned himself a 2 minute minor for roughing, while Kaleta was hit with a 10 minute misconduct to go with a 2 minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Sabres made it 4-2 on a soft goal by Andrej Sekara with 4:34 left in the third period. The puck bounced off the back of Mark Stuarts' skate on to the stick of Sekara. Sekara's soft backhander found it's way through traffic and the pads of a screened Tim Thomas to make it a 2-goal game.
With the Sabres down by 2 goals, Lindy Ruff pulled his goalie for the extra attacker with over 2 minutes left. Milan Lucic quickly sealed the win for the Bruins when he deposited the puck into the empty net with a chip shot from the high slot with 2:07 left in the game to make it 5-2.
- Jhonas Enroth, who was called up from the Portland Pirates got the start in goal for the injured Ryan Miller (lower body). It was just Enroth's second NHL game. His first NHL game action came against the B's on November 7, 2009. Enroth has now played 4 periods of NHL hockey all against the Boston Bruins. The 22-year-old Swede has given up 7 goals on 49 shots. It is safe to say that the kid needs some more seasoning up in Portland before being ready to make the jump to the NHL.
- Former BU Terrier Mike Grier played in his 1,000th NHL game tonight.
- Patrick Lalime settled in and the Sabres controlled play at times in the second and third period after the B's took their foot off the gas a bit.
- The Bruins did not fare well in the face-off circle tonight. The B's won just 29% of the draws (18 of 63). Gregory Campbell won only 2 of his 15 face-offs.
- The Bruins had not scored a shorthanded goal this season until tonight.
- Adam McQuaid blocked 4 shots.
- The Bruins gave up just their third power play goal this season in 35 times shorthanded.They currently own the top PK in the league at 91.4%.
- Rookie Jordan Caron, who is quickly becoming one of the Bruins' top penalty killers logged 4:37 on the penalty kill tonight.
- The Bruins will travel to Washington to take on the Capitals on Friday night (7:00 PM ET).
- Check out Die By The Blade for more on tonight's Bruins-Sabres game.