BUFFALO It wasnt quite back-to-back wins, but the Bruins that are suiting up and skating each game in Black and Gold sweaters are starting to look a little more familiar.
The Bs crew took points in consecutive games for the first time in a month and continued to build momentum with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres that could have gone either way at the First Niagara Center.
It had been a while since wed strung together two good 60-minute games. We had a good effort in St. Louis and our goal is to build momentum, said Gregory Campbell. We wanted to play a solid game against a desperate team. With 20 games left you play desperate teams and close games, and were finding our game slowly but surely. We just have to build on that.
Shootout scores from Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy were the difference-makers in a decision that dropped the Bruins to 7-2 in the shootout this season, but there werent many Bruins hanging their heads afterward.
Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in a return to form and Zdeno Chara had his second consecutive strong game after going through a two-weekdown period. Chara saved the game in overtime by sweeping a Thomas Vanek shot away from the open net, and potted the game-tying score in the third period for his ninth goal of the season.
The fourth line created the energy to start the third period that helped push the Bruins into overtime and earned a power play that led into Charas score shortly after the man advantage had expired.
The offense still wasnt moving as fluidly for the Bruins as it did during the salad days of November and December, but it was ably supported by the familiar Bs formula of grinding defense and timely goaltending.
It was a game that with a matter of luck it could have been on our side. It was a good, close game, said Chara. It was a good effort. We competed, we battled hard and it was a really close game.
Both teams played well, both goalies made big saves and it was just too bad we couldnt get the extra point in the shootout.
Even more than the defense and the goalie play, the Bruins were pleased with a second straight game that saw them finish up strong with a third period effort they could be proud of. The Bs out-shot the Sabres by a 15-5 margin while tying up the game and forcing overtime, and seemed to be walking on familiar footing headed into the overtime session on a power play.
Its a far cry from the recent four-game stretch where they were outscored 5-1 in the third period and looked like they were lacking their normal skating legs.
The first two periods I thought were pretty even. But I thought in the third period we came out, went after the goal to tie it up and we were the better team in the third period, said Julien. Im definitely happy with the way weve been coming out in the third the last couple of games.
The Bruins couldnt close the deal in OT or during the shootout, but it was an effort they could discuss with their heads cast upward.
They hadnt been able to do that in two straight games in a long, long time and the Bruins are taking that as a sign of good things to come.