Bruins beat Sabres 5-2, may have lost Eriksson

Bruins beat Sabres 5-2, may have lost Eriksson
October 23, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Dougie Hamilton tries to get the puck past the Sabres' Ryan Miller.

(AP Photo)

BUFFALO – The Bruins took care of business against the Buffalo Sabres for their third win in a row, but the victory might have come at a cost.

Milan Lucic and Torey Krug powered the Bruins to victory with two goals each in a 5-2 victory over Buffalo at the First Niagara Center, but they may have lost Loui Eriksson on a despicable head shot from Sabres goon John Scott.

Eriksson had to be helped off the ice after taking the elbow to the head, and that had a chilling effect on the two points in Boston’s season ledger.

The Bruins took a one-goal lead in the first period on what first appeared to be Jarome Iginla’s first goal as a member of the Black and Gold. Iginla snapped off a shot from the high slot area that trickled through Ryan Miller’s leg pads, but replays showed that Milan Lucic redirected the shot before it hit the goaltender. So Lucic had his fourth goal of the season, and then collected his fifth score finishing off a nice centering pass in the opening shift of the second period.

The Sabres stormed back with a power play redirect from Cody Hodgson on a too many men on the ice call against the Bruins, but the Bruins again extended the lead when Dougie Hamilton roofed a 2-on-1 chance from Brad Marchand. Buffalo again inched closer in the closing minutes of the second period when impressive rookie Nikita Zadorov flicked a backhander past Chad Johnson in what would fairly be termed a soft goal.

The two goals represented an offensive windfall for a Sabres team that came into the game averaging just 1.2 goals per game as the NHL’s worst offensive team this season. Otherwise, the Sabres were held in game by Ryan Miller until a pair of Krug goals in the third period gave the Bruins the needed insurance scoring for victory.

GOLD STAR: Two goals and three points along with a plus-3 for Milan Lucic equaled one of his best nights in a stellar opening month to the season. The B’s power forward was more than a little fired up to start the second period after hearing Sabres fans cheer when he took a puck to the face at the end of the first. He scored 41 seconds into the frame on a mad dash to the net. Jarome Iginla found him with the pass, and Lucic managed to flick a shot past Ryan Miller before crashing into the boards. Lucic set the tone early for a line that dominated the Sabres throughout the game.

BLACK EYE: John Scott, the Buffalo Sabres and coach Ron Rolston all deserve equal blame here. Scott is a 6-foot-8 monster that has no discernible hockey skill, aside from fighting and intimidation, and he broke “The Code” by sizing Loui Eriksson up for an elbow to the head in the final six minutes of a game Boston was leading by two goals. But the Sabres deserve part of the blame for employing one of the few true goons left at the NHL level, and then showing poor taste by playing his “Big Bad John” theme as a scrambled Loui Eriksson was being helped off the ice and into the dressing room by his teammates. Then there’s a coach in Rolston, who has absolutely zero control over players such as Patrick Kaleta and Scott, who attempt to hurt people rather than actually win hockey games. A brutal display by many associated with the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were clinging to a 2-1 lead midway through the second period, and it appeared the Sabres were starting to get some pressure in on the B’s defensemen. Dennis Seidenberg made an ill-advised pass toward the blue line that was intercepted by Sabres forward Marcus Foligno with a golden chance to tie things up for Buffalo. Instead Chad Johnson managed to turn away Foligno’s bid, and the Bruins rushed the puck down the other end of the ice, where Dougie Hamilton finished off a nice 2-on-1 feed from Brad Marchand to give Boston a two-goal cushion. That swing in momentum helped carry the B’s to victory in a game that had no shortage of key moments.

HONORABLE MENTION: Torey Krug notched two goals in the third period that iced the game for the Bruins, and really utilized his compete level by outmuscling the bigger, stronger Drew Stafford for a 50/50 puck battle in front of the net. The B’s rookie defenseman floated a fadeaway shot that fooled Ryan Miller and ended up giving Boston a two-goal cushion in the third period. Krug finished with five generated shots in 19:53 of ice time, and was a plus-1 in a nasty divisional battle between the Bruins and the Sabres in Buffalo.

BY THE NUMBERS: More than 5 – the number of games John Scott is likely looking at as a suspension after getting invited to an in-person hearing with Brendan Shanahan for his despicable head shot to Loui Eriksson in the third period on Wednesday night. It’s just too bad that the Sabres won’t be any worse off as a team for losing his services.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The referees called it the way everybody saw it. It’s unfortunate. The guy who did it did his job tonight. He’s there for two reasons, and that’s either to fight or to hurt…he did his job tonight. It’s disappointing that a key player gets hurt. I know there is history here, but it’s a guy [in Scott] that plays about two or three minutes a game, and he targets one of our best players with that kind of thing.” –-Claude Julien saying it all about an NHL that should have no place for a 6-foot-8 pylon named John Scott, who cheap shots opponents while not actually being able to play the game.