Here are 15 thoughts after the third period with the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres tied at a 2-2 score after 60 minutes of emotional action at TD Garden.
1) Unforgettable anthem from Rene Rancourt and the TD Garden crowd. Rancourt gave up the mic to the 18,000 plus in the TD Garden stands and they sang loudly and proudly through the entire anthem. There weren’t a lot of dry eyes in the press box just as there weren’t on the ice.
2) Bruins came out with the proper gusto and drive in the first period. They followed up with strong shifts, and a tenacious, grinding effort in the corner by Chris Kelly won a puck from Christian Ehrhoff, and then a centering pass to Daniel Paille in the slot resulted in a shot ripped past Ryan Miller. The Bruins had plenty of chances as evidenced by their 12 shots, and they’ll score a few more goals if Kelly’s teammates work just as hard as he did for that goal.
3) A couple of weak sauce calls on Bruins for penalties really affected the momentum: a phantom trip on Brad Marchand where a play stepped on his stick and an interference call on Zdeno Chara on what appeared to be a standard issue body check. The second penalty led to Thomas Vanek’s power play goal in front of the net. Didn’t the refs get the script that Boston is supposed to win the game tonight?
4) A few “Let’s Go Boston” and “We are Boston” chants during the first period, and a spot during a TV timeout where the TD Garden had all of the fans stand up that ran in the marathon – and then all of the spectators to stand up as well. Both groups got a rousing ovation of cheers from the sold out crowd of emotional fans. Just an amazing atmosphere tonight.
5) Bruins being outhit 9-5 by the Sabres in the first period. It’s time for the Black and Gold to release the hounds.
1) Chris Kelly spoke on Wednesday morning about how much he enjoys playing in the city of Boston, and then he went out and showed it on the ice. It was No. 23’s dogged effort that led to Boston’s first goal and it was his second effort around the net that lifted a puck over Ryan Miller’s pads for the go-ahead score in the second period. He teamed with Daniel Paille for both scores, and those third line contributions were the difference-makers tonight.
2) Active period for Buffalo Sabres rat Patrick Kaleta. He smashed both Jaromir Jagr and David Krejci with running hits in the second period, and then got Zdeno Chara in his face after the skirmish with Krejci. Then Johnny Boychuk crushed him into the glass at the end of a period that saw Kaleta struggling to get back to the bench at the end of his shift.
3) Good show of team toughness when the Bruins crowded around John Scott as he was mugging Jaromir Jagr with a late hit right in front of the Bruins bench midway through the period. Dennis Seidenberg was the first to get in Scott’s face and then the rest of Boston’s team followed up afterward.
4) A team-high four shots on net and 9-of-11 face-off wins for Patrice Bergeron after missing 14 days with a “moderate concussion.” He is an absolute machine and the best example anybody could ever find of “Boston Strong.”
5) Here’s a link to the National Anthem started by Rene Rancourt and finished by the fans in an emotional moment at TD Garden prior to Bruins/Sabres puck drop if you haven’t seen it yet: http://www.csnne.com/blog/bruins-talk/bruins-fans-belt-out-national-anthem
1) Bruins outshot the Sabres 39-26 in this one. Good effort all around, but losing the lead right at the end of the third period really hurts. What has happened to the Bruins in third periods that they used to dominate?
2) Huge kick save by Andrew Ference on a shot in the crease from Nathan Gerbe with Anton Khudobin out of the net. Ference has played his absolute guts out tonight in exactly the kind of performance you’re looking for in such an emotional setting.
3) Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron both looked outstanding in their first games back from concussions.
4) Huge penalty kill from the Bruins in the third period on a four minute double-minor on Milan Lucic for high-sticking. Bruins only allowed a single shot on net and had the best chance during the four minutes with a Daniel Paille hustle job on a Patrice Bergeron clearing attempt. But the tying goal in the final 30 seconds after Ference’s delay of game penalty really takes some of the starch out of it. Two power play goals allowed again tonight by the Bruins.
5) The “We Are Boston” chant might just start catching on.