BUFFALO The Bruins were braced for an angry bunch of Sabres, and simply rode out the emotion en route to a great game plan.
The Sabres settled their scores in the first period, took a quick 2-0 lead on a pair of power play scored and then watched as the Bruins chipped away before eventually taking a 4-3 shootout victory over Buffalo at the First Niagara Center.
Believe it or not, the Montreal Mystery Man Benoit Pouliot came away with the shootout winner in the fifth round of extra play.
Milan Lucic and Paul Gaustad tangled during their first face-off on the ice together, and Lucic pummeled a game Gaustad attempting to win back some respect after not fighting for his goaltender 11 days prior in Boston.
The power play strikes by Christian Ehrhoff and Tomas Vanek arrived while Zdeno Chara sat in the penalty box following a fight with Robyn Regehr, and his immense 6-foot-9 absence was missed on the penalty kill.
But the Bruins fought back in the second period with a Stamkos-esque one-timer from Tyler Seguin on the power play to halve the lead, and a great, hustling shift that made it a one-goal game headed into the third period. Marchand banged bodies with the much bigger Thomas Vanek in the center ice area, and then hustled into the offensive zone before roofing a rebound right in front of the net.
That led to the Chara power play goal in the third that tied up the game, and the eventual game winning shootout performance their third shootout win of the season.
The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season.
Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate.
Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode.
Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break.
"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."
Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.
*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.
*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.
*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.
*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.
*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.
*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.
*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.