Here are five thoughts from the third period – and overtime -- with the Bruins falling to the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 after 60-plus minutes at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo:
1) Torey Krug didn’t have a great game and was a liability defensively on two of the goals scored by the Buffalo Sabres. But he’s a game-changer on the power play and created the Milan Lucic goal when he wheeled through the offensive zone and found the B’s power forward waiting in front of the net. As long he creates offensively and lights it up on the power play, there will be a place for him in Boston.
2) Not the greatest moment for Matt Bartkowski and Johnny Boychuk in the last minute of the third period. Bartkowski whiffs at Matt Moulson carrying the puck behind the net, and then a puck bounces off Johnny Boychuk before Moulson flips it into the net.
3) Chad Johnson has looked a little rusty tonight. The Brian Flynn goal allowed in the second period was especially soft and Matt D’Agostini flat beat Johnson for the winner.
4) The Olympians looking a little tired on the game-winning goal for Buffalo. Loui Eriksson flings an ill-advised pass to create the transition game for the Sabres, and Zdeno Chara can’t catch up on D’Agostini once he starts churning his legs toward the net. The Bruins were good to salvage a point in a highly uneven game, but they’ll need to be much better moving forward. Obviously.
5) When Ville Leino gets multiple points against you, you know it’s not going to be your night as a hockey team.
Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Sabres locked in a 3-3 tie:
1) John Scott once again proving why he’s not an NHL-level player. He gets stripped by Reilly Smith while dusting the puck behind his net and that turns into a quick pass to Brad Marchand for the game-tying goal in the second period. Scott has one hit, zero shots and one big fat giveaway for the Sabres. He’s a mistake waiting to happen as a defenseman.
2) Five shots on net and seven total shot attempts for Loui Eriksson in his first game back. He’s looking like he’s riding that momentum from the Olympic experience, and needed a big Jhonas Enroth leg pad stop to rob him of a backdoor goal off a Milan Lucic slick pass in the second period.
3) Zdeno Chara with his ninth power play goal of the season on a third effort play with Henrik Tallinder and Matt Ellis hanging off him in front of the net. That is going to be a serious weapon come playoff-time.
4) Brad Marchand was incensed after getting called for slashing in an exchange with 6-foot-7 Tyler Myers where the B’s agitator did slash the Buffalo defenseman, but also caught a punch to the head from Myers. Instead of matching penalties, Francois St. Laurent whistled Nose Face Killah on a ridiculous reputation penalty. Of course Myers scored on the ensuing power play, but Marchand got his revenge while potting the game-tying goal at the end of the period. It was Marchand’s third time hitting 20 goals in the NHL.
5) Tough night for Torey Krug, who is a minus-2 and has experienced some coverage issues in the defensive zone on a pair of Buffalo’s goals thus far.
Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Sabres locked in a 1-1 tie:
1) Bruins third line hit the ground running for the Black and Gold after the 2 ½ week Olympic layoff. Chris Kelly scores his fifth goal of the season on a top shelf shot from the slot after a nifty behind-the-back pass from Carl Soderberg, and that came at the end of a hard-working shift full of fore-checking and cycling the puck. Four of the seven shots from the Bruins in the first period were from the third line.
2) Very discombobulated first period from the Bruins with errant passes and sloppiness all over the ice. It’s almost like they hadn’t played in a couple of weeks. Hey, wait a second.
3) Five-of-seven face-off wins, one shot on net and three hits for Steve Ott, who is clearly putting on an “A” effort knowing that he could be dealt to a contender from Buffalo prior to March 5. He could be a difference-maker as a depth player for a playoff team.
4) Tough play for Torey Krug on the B’s goal allowed as Brian Flynn steamrolled him, and then flipped the puck to the slot for a Zemgus Girgensens goal. It’s plays like that where Krug can be exposed, and the 5-foot-8 defenseman works awfully hard to avoid being put in that position very much. He will always be a bit of a liability in the D-zone because of his size. That’s just the way it is, but he also limits those situations when he’s constantly moving with the puck.
5) Keep an eye on Henrik Tallinder. That may be a guy that the Bruins circle around on at the trade deadline on March 5 if he’s still available and they’re still searching for a veteran defenseman.