BUFFALO – Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins beating Buffalo Sabres 5-2 at the First Niagara Center:
1) Two goals for Torey Krug, who outmuscled the bigger, stronger Drew Stafford in front of the net in a one-on-one puck battle for the first of those two scores. He’s been very, very good for the Bruins.
2) Dirty, filthy elbow from John Scott that clocked Loui Eriksson in the head seconds after the Swedish forward had released a pass in the neutral zone. Had all the time in the world to peel off after Eriksson got rid of the puck, and he wasn’t playing the puck. Textbook case of what the NHL is trying to outlaw, and he was slapped with a match penalty after Adam McQuaid went after him. You have to imagine he was on thin ice after the stuff with Phil Kessel in the preseason, and Brendan Shanahan will sweep the leg.
3) Eriksson looked wobbly and out of it as he was helped off the ice and down to the dressing room. He didn’t return and we’ve seen a lot of concussions stemming from those hits. Hate to speculate, though, and the hope has to be that Eriksson was just spending the 10 minutes into the quiet room.
4) Good game from Ryan Miller before the team imploded on him in the third period. He was one of the few guys keeping Buffalo in the game.
5) Credit to Adam McQuaid for going after John Scott following the dirty hit. Takes a lot of courage to go after a 6-foot-8, 270 goon that has no place in today’s NHL were it not for Buffalo’s desperate attempts to be relevant.
Five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2:
1) Two goals for Milan Lucic, who was rewarded by the hockey gods after he returned without missing a shift following a puck to the face at the end of the first period. Jarome Iginla found him with a perfect centering pass on his very first shift of the second period, and he buried a shot past Ryan Miller after beating Mark Pysyk in a race to the front of the net. Lucic leads the Bruins with five goals on the season, and is looking like he’s going to have a huge season.
2) Excellent game for Dougie Hamilton, who potted his second goal of the season after roofing a shot over the glove hand of Miller on a 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand. He’s generated five shot attempts in his 12:43 of ice time, and has battled hard in his own end. Perhaps he’s trying to make sure he stays in the lineup for a possible showdown with his brother tomorrow night?
3) David Krejci once again allowed Steve Ott to get under his skin, which has been a regular occurrence the past few years. Ott dominated Krejci in the face-off circle in a game in Dallas two years ago, and lulled the B’s center into a high-sticking penalty right off a power play face-off after Ott started things up by punching Krejci. Refs saw the stick-work retaliation, and Boston’s power play was over.
4) Mixed bag for Chad Johnson. He made a huge save on Marcus Foligno after a Dennis Seidenberg turnover that eventually led to Hamilton’s goal at the other end of the ice, but he also lost his angles on a Nikita Zadorov backhander from the right circle that beat him wide to the net. That was an extremely soft goal in a tight game. Thirteen saves in all for Johnson.
5) Impressive performance for Zadorov in only his second NHL game. Scores the goal on a nice backhander when the Sabres really needed it, and knocked Johnny Boychuk down on his butt in the first period with a jarring hit. Looks like a good defenseman prospect for the Sabres, and they can use as many of those as they can get.
Five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Sabres, 1-0:
1) It looked like Jarome Iginla had his first goal of the season, finally, when a shot from the high slot trickled through Ryan Miller’s pads before crawling over the goal line. But after further review Milan Lucic redirected the puck while camped in front of the net, and he was credited with his team-leading fourth goal of the season. Iginla just can’t catch a break right now even though he’s been all around scoring chances while working hard through the first eight games.
2) Speaking of Milan Lucic, he took a puck to the face on a Mark Pysyk clearing attempt toward the end of the first period and retired to the dressing room for repairs while looking in a fair amount of distress. It didn’t look that serious, but then again it’s not my face that took the brunt of a fired puck.
3) Aside from the redirected goal, it was a good period for Ryan Miller as the last line of defense for the Sabres. Miller stoned Loui Eriksson on a point-blank shot attempt with a pad save that required a video review before the NHL could determine it was “no goal.” Six saves for Miller in the early going.
4) Chad Johnson wasn’t tested all that much by the Sabres aside from some shots from the outside, but he was up to the task for the Bruins. The Sabres seemed to be doing him a favor by shooting from the outside and allowing a potentially rusty goaltender to get into a rhythm.
5) You can see why the Sabres are struggling as much as they are. Sloppy passing with guys refusing to move without the puck. You could see at one point Tyler Ennis just giving up on a shift and loafing, so he wasn’t in the area where one of his teammates passed the puck with the expectation Ennis would be in the area. There’s just no excuse for that from any team this early in the season.