Sabres snap B's six-game point streak, win 7-4

991469.jpg

Sabres snap B's six-game point streak, win 7-4

BOSTON -- The Bruins dropped their first game in regulation on Thursday night, falling 7-4 to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Bruins took a 4-3 lead just 1:45 after David Krejci pulled off a filthy toe-drag on Jordan Leopold inside the right circle as Leopold dove to the ice. Krejci pulled the puck back, got past the Sabres' defenseman, and snapped it low-left for the goal and the lead.
But the Sabres scored four unanswered goals that included an empty-netter to seal the deal on the win.
Buffalo tied it up at 4-4 just 43 seconds after Krejci's goal, as Alexander Sulzer stepped up into the high slot and ripped a one-timer past Rask.
Cody Hodgson then gave Buffalo a 5-4 lead seven minutes into the third, as he one-timed a Thomas Vanek pass past Tuukka Rask on a 2-on-1.
Vanek scored on a breakaway with 1:31 left to complete his hat trick and put the Sabres up 6-4. Then Jason Pominville put home an empty-netter to make it 7-4.
The Bruins nearly took a 3-1 lead into the third period, but the Sabres scored a pair of goals late in the second to tie the game at 3-3 entering the third.
Vanek cut Boston's lead to 3-2 with 3:14 left in the second and a minute left on a 5-on-3 Buffalo power play, when he re-directed a Christian Ehrhoff shot from the right point.
Not even two minutes later, Ennis was left wide open at the right post, caught a perfect pass through the slot from Vanek as he was falling to the ice, and put it upstairs on Rask as he tried to quickly slide post-to-post. Rask couldn't get there in time, and Ennis tied the game.
Before any of the scoring started, the Bruins lost Shawn Thornton following a fight in the game's opening minutes with 6-foot-8 forward John Scott. The fight ended with the 6-foot-2 Thornton falling to the ice. Thornton served the fighting penalty, but went straight the the dressing room afterwards, and never returned to the game.
After a scoreless first, he Sabres had taken the initial 1-0 lead 1:38 into the second period, when Vanek one-timed an absolute rocket from the top of the left circle past Rask. Like the game-tying goal, Rask had no chance, as Vanek received a pass through the slot from the opposite circle before ripping it top-shelf.
The Bruins answered by scoring three straight goals, one from Rich Peverley and two in a row from Brad Marchand, all in a span of six minutes, taking a 3-1 lead before Buffalo tied it up at the end of the period.

TALKING POINTS, written by CSNNE Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty
GOLD STAR: Thomas Vanek finished with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) and a plus-4 in 19:21 of ice time and continued his role as certified Bruins killer with 28 goals and 54 points in 46 career games against Boston. It was the second hat trick of the season for the Austrian forward and the second five-point hes put up this year, so its not just a Black and Gold thing either. As porous as the Bruins defense was on Thursday night, a huge dollop of credit must also go to a Thomas VanekJason PominvilleCody Hodgson line that dominated the Bruins from beginning to end.BLACK EYE: Zero hits and a minus-3 is not something one usually sees next to Zdeno Chara for a stat line, but thats what was sitting there after the Bruins defenseman couldnt stop the top Buffalo line. The Bruins captain was caught up ice at points and beaten to the net at other times in one of the worst performances seen from the 6-foot-9 defenseman during his time in Boston. The big career numbers for Vanek tell you that hes one forward that Chara has his share of trouble with given his combination of sizestrength and skill.TURNING POINT: It was a see-saw game that seemed to indicate the final team to score a goal would win, but then Ryan Miller came alive in the final 20 minutes to stop the goal-fest for both sides. It was still a one-goal lead for Buffalo in the third when Miller stoned Patrice Bergeron on a point blank shot in front of the net for one of his 15 saves in the final stanza. Once Miller snuffed out that last Boston scoring chance, the insurance and empty net goals started coming.HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand scored a pair of goals for the Bruins in the second period and really allowed Boston to head into the final period tied up despite some defensive breakdowns. The rush through both Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold while waiting out Miller before roofing a backhander was a thing of beauty, and the second goal was a snipe from the slot with Tyler Seguin battling with the 6-foot-7 Myers in front of the net. There was plenty to like about Marchands performance Thursday and his team-leading five goals on the season.INJURY WARD: Shawn Thornton took several stiff overhand rights to the head courtesy of 6-foot-8 monster John Scott in their first period fight, and never returned to the ice after heading straight to the dressing room from the penalty box. Claude Julien indicated hes still being evaluated. Daniel Paille is also still under evaluation after taking a high-stick to the face in the third period that sent him to the Bs dressing room for the rest of the night.BY THE NUMBERS: 17 the number of seconds left on the clock when Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff took a timeout with a three-goal lead in the third period.QUOTE TO NOTE: Our guys were defensively brain-dead. Bruins coach Claude Julien discussing the uncharacteristic defensive miscues and blown assignments that led to allowing seven Buffalo goals in the loss.

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

BOSTON – There wasn’t much for Anton Khudobin to say after it was all over on Thursday night. 

The B’s backup netminder allowed four goals on 22 shots while looking like he was fighting the puck all night. It was one of the big reasons behind a tired-looking 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

The loss dropped Khudobin to 1-4-0 on the season and puts him at a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage this season. Three of the four goals beat Khudobin despite him getting a pretty good look at them. The ultimate game-winner in the second period from John Mitchell just beat him cleanly on the short side. 

Matt Duchene beat Khudobin from the slot on a play that was a bad defense/bad goaltending combo platter to start the game and MacKinnon ripped a shorthanded bid past the Bruins netminder to put Boston in a hole against a woeful Colorado team. 

Afterward, Khudobin didn’t have much to say, with just one good performance among five games played for the Black and Gold this season. 

“Four goals is too much. That’s it,” said a to-the-point Khudobin, who was then asked how he felt headed into the game. “I don’t know; too much energy…yeah, too much. I don’t know. I just had a lot of energy and I think it just didn’t work out my way.”

Khudobin didn’t really expand on why he had too much energy, but perhaps it’s because the compacted schedule has really curtailed the team’s ability to hold team practices on a regular basis. Or maybe he was just disappointed it took him a week to get back between the pipes after playing his best game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Either way Claude Julien said that the Bruins needed better goaltending on a night where they weren’t at their sharpest physically or mentally, and Khudobin clearly wasn’t up to the challenge this time around. 

“We needed some saves tonight and we didn’t get them. He’s got to be better. A lot of things here that we can be better at and take responsibility [for],” said Julien. “But at the same time, you got to move on here. To me it’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, and we would have had a chance. Now we’ve got to move forward.”

Clearly, the Bruins have no choice but to move on with a busy schedule that doesn’t let up anytime soon, but one of the lessons learned from Thursday night is that the Bruins need to get better backup goaltending from a collective crew (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban included) that’s won just once in eight games behind Tuukka Rask this season. 

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

MORE: 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.