Here are five thoughts from the third period after the Bruins lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 at the First Niagara Center:
1) Chad Johnson was beaten by Drew Stafford on a wraparound goal for the game-winning score, and that’s why Johnson is a backup goaltender. He’s been largely good this season, but on Thursday, he was a big reason why they ended up on the losing end.
2) Ryan Spooner had one shot on net and was on the ice for two goals against in 14:22 of ice time, and perhaps the Bruins are starting to show the wear and tear of the injuries a little bit.
3) Brad Marchand had three or four chances to finish off the natural hat trick, and that speaks to the energy he was playing with throughout the game. But he wasn’t able to finish off any of the plays, unfortunately for the Black and Gold.
4) The Bruins are having some trouble finishing off plays. David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla dominated throughout against the Sabres, but couldn’t get that go-ahead score.
5) Buffalo? Really? Buffalo?
Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres locked in a 2-2 tie after the first 40 minutes:
1) Brad Marchand ends his dry stretch with a pair of goals in the second period, and answers many of the questions from the past week or so. His short side strike short-handed and a smoked one-timer from the slot minutes later were his fifth and sixth goals of the season. Maybe Peter Chiarelli should refute imaginary trade rumors surrounding Marchand more often, as he did earlier Thursday before Marchand’s explosion. It was clear early he was taking straight lines to the net, and going to the front without the puck – a couple things he hadn’t done much over the first few months of the season. Five shots on net and seven overall shot attempts might just be the most he’s had all season.
2) Johnny Boychuk made amends for his first period gaffe by setting up Marchand for the short-handed goal. Though I still don’t foresee a lot of power-play time in his future.
3) Apparently, Claude Julien is still having a hard time with the flu a few days later, but hasn’t missed a moment on the bench. Why? Because he’s a hockey coach.
4) The Lucic/Krejci/Iginla line is all over it in the first two periods, but hasn’t been able to break through with a goal.
5) Tough play at the end of the second period with Nick Johnson and Jordan Caron unable to provide back pressure enough to slow down a rush that eventually turned into a Marcus Foligno goal. Foligno is only an assist away from the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the Sabres 1-0 after the first 20 minutes:
1) Some discussion about whether or not Zdeno Chara would have to battle Sabres goon John Scott (which he never should have felt the need to), but Buffalo makes the decision easy by scratching the 6-foot-8 brawler. Still, the time has passed for the B’s captain to challenge Scott unless he targets another Bruins skill player with a head shot.
2) Good first period for Sabres youngster Brian Flynn, who has the game’s only goal - short-handed- on a wicked backhander and has won 3 of 4 face-offs in slightly more than four minutes of action in the first period. The backhander hit the post, but then bounced off Chad Johnson’s back before it ended up in the goal.
3) Good self-control from Milan Lucic, who was jumped by Mike Weber behind the Buffalo net and wouldn’t engage in a fight when the Buffalo defenseman tried to drop the gloves with him. It ended up earning the B’s a two-minute power play that, unfortunately, led to Buffalo’s short-handed strike.
4) A little spark from Matt Fraser, who dropped the gloves with Marcus Foligno off a face-off. He ended up on the losing end of the fight after missing with a couple of punches, but the willingness to do extra in order to win a roster spot was appreciated in this corner. Now he needs to score a goal or two to really start to demand more ice time.
5) Johnny Boychuk was playing point on the power play, and couldn’t handle a clearing attempt that led to Flynn’s short-handed goal. Boychuk hasn’t seen much power play time this season, and he might not see much more after the unfortunate play that led to Buff’s goal.