2 U's, 2 K's, 2 many saves
The Bruins started pretty well:
The Bruins flat out dominated Buffalo in the opening frame. Shots, chances, and then the scoreboard when Carlo's slapshot was tipped in-front by David Krejci for the 1-0 tally. It was just another Boston-Buffalo game post Ryan Miller. Jack Eichel WAS fun to watch, but not creating as many opportunities as one could expect such a highly touted prospect to do. Business as usual, move along.
The second was...weird.
Weird not in that the Bruins played badly or that Buffalo got some odd bounce or that they suddenly fell behind, but that the first line of the Bruins, which is normally an absolute-sure-thing zone exit and offensive zone entry, was kinda playing...not good. And it was kind of bizarre to watch. Like an out of body experience or something. As such, the Bruins had trouble leaving their own end for a majority of the period, and thus had to call on Tuukka Rask to be Tuukka Rask:
He obliged. He was fantastic this game and in this period. Calm, cool, reacting to shots as they came and dumping them away for Boston to retrieve. If Buffalo had their best chances of the night here on a lesser goalie it would've meant the end of the game.
Slowly, the Bruins got back on their feet and began attacking Robin Lehner again, even after allowing Tuukka Rask to dazzle us with his control of the situation in front of him:
And eventually, after several shifts of the Bruins taking advantage of Lehner unnecesaarily extending play, Patrice Bergeron would end up self-passing so hard he would loop around the net to back-hand it in to bring it to 2-0 good guys!
...Unfortunately the Bruins would follow it up right away by an ugly shift leaving Evander Kane wide open and with the puck to bring it within one. 2-1.
...Dios mio, McQuaid. Dios goddamn mio.
Thankfully, that would be the only true defensive gaffe the Bruins gave up that would result in goals as Tuukka Rask shut the door and played out of his mind to keep things as they were. The Sabres would pull Lehner, and almost give up a goal, but that would end it as the Bergeron Line, perhaps sparked by Patrice's goal, slammed any hope of Buffalo re-entering the game shut, taking the win and two points. They are now in a much firmer third place in division!
- This was genuinely one of the rare times where the first line was not the best on the ice. And somehow they still were responsible for a goal. That takes talent.
- Rask was more or less lights out against a pretty furious effort by Buffalo, ending his night with a .972 SV%
- Bergeron hasn't looked himself, he might be fighting something off? Either way, it was bizarre to see him making mistakes he might've made a decade prior.
- Matt Beleskey took a nasty whack from a Sabre and did not return, diagnosed with a lower body injury. Anton Blidh might be staying.
- Your possession leaders overall were Colin Miller (64.71% CF%), Riley Nash (62.07% CF%) and Torey Krug (60% CF%). At 5-on-5 not much changes.
- That goal against was a system failure but good god McQuaid got both turnstile'd and misdirected hard.
The Bruins next game is on Monday vs. Florida at 7pm, see you there!