BOSTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli traded Brad Boyes to the St. Louis Blues at the 2007 trade deadline. In return, the B's brought in puck-moving defenseman Dennis Wideman.
At the time, Chiarelli explained his thought process: "I'd like to think that our defense will be a better puck-moving unit now. That's really going to help our chances."
Similar words were spoken at this year's trade deadline, with the acquisition of veteran puck-moving defenseman Tomas Kaberle.
But on Thursday night at the TD Garden, it was Boyes who proved his offensive qualities to be more important -- in this game at least.
Boyes knocked home the game-winning goal with 1:16 left to play in overtime, giving the Sabres a 4-3 win over Boston. It was his sixth game with Buffalo, after being traded from the Blues for a second-round pick at last month's trade deadline.
He made an immediate impact in the division race as he skated hard to the net, and finished a Nathan Gerbe pass from the lower-left circle, after Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was caught too far out of the net, after taking Gerbe's initial shot off the shoulder.
"I figured I'd follow Gerbe in there and see what he's got," said Boyes. "He made a great play. Most of it was effort. With Timmy Thomas coming out like that, it was an easy tip-in for me."
In essence, Kaberle is this team's new Wideman, proving he can fill the "puck-moving" role on the blue line. And in the moments leading up to Boyes' game-winner, it was Kaberle's defense -- or lack thereof -- that allowed Gerbe to not only get an easy shot off from the high slot, but also allowed him to make Kaberle look like a turn-style, beating him to the loose rebound, and finding a wide-open Boyes at the right post.
It marked Boyes' third goal with his new team. And it was a big one, as it kept the Sabres in the hunt for one of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spots.
It was also fitting that it came against his old team, at the expense of some poor defense from a puck-moving defenseman, which was the type of player Boyes was traded for.
"I've had some great memories here," said Boyes after the game. "I loved playing here. It was a lot of fun. So you want to come back, and you want to do those things. I've been on a few teams, and any time you play an old team, there's that little extra bit, that, you want to make sure that they made a mistake, kind of getting rid of you. Again, that was a while ago. But you still have that extra jump, that sense of excitement."
Boyes played 142 total regular-season games with the Bruins before he was traded more than halfway through his second year in Boston.
He scored 26 goals in 82 games in 2005-06, and had 13 goals in 62 games with the B's prior to the trade to St. Louis.
The following season -- his first full year with the Blues -- Boyes scored a career-high 43 goals. The year after that, he scored 33.
Since then, Boyes' numbers have dropped. Last season, he scored only 14 goals in 82 games, while having only 12 goals in 62 games this season, before being traded to the potentially playoff-bound Sabres.
Thursday night's overtime game-winner marked his 15th goal of the year. While it was special to score against the team that once traded him, Boyes was happier to help the Sabres get two points, putting them in seventh place in the East, with 74 points.
"There is always that extra little bit, but to be honest, it's been a while since I've been back," said Boyes on playing in Boston. "You want to score and go hard against all teams. There are a lot of different faces over there.
"The biggest thing is, you can't stress how important it is to get that extra point. Those other things are great, and I'll take them. But that point is so valuable right now.
"I enjoy it here," said Boyes about his new home in Buffalo. "I think it's been a good move. I'm excited. When I came over here, that was my thought, just being excited, and getting back to what I enjoy doing, scoring goals, winning games, and things like that. That's what I'm trying to do."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.