BOSTON -- The Bruins dropped their first game in regulation on Thursday night, falling 7-4 to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Bruins took a 4-3 lead just 1:45 after David Krejci pulled off a filthy toe-drag on Jordan Leopold inside the right circle as Leopold dove to the ice. Krejci pulled the puck back, got past the Sabres' defenseman, and snapped it low-left for the goal and the lead.
But the Sabres scored four unanswered goals that included an empty-netter to seal the deal on the win.
Buffalo tied it up at 4-4 just 43 seconds after Krejci's goal, as Alexander Sulzer stepped up into the high slot and ripped a one-timer past Rask.
Cody Hodgson then gave Buffalo a 5-4 lead seven minutes into the third, as he one-timed a Thomas Vanek pass past Tuukka Rask on a 2-on-1.
Vanek scored on a breakaway with 1:31 left to complete his hat trick and put the Sabres up 6-4. Then Jason Pominville put home an empty-netter to make it 7-4.
The Bruins nearly took a 3-1 lead into the third period, but the Sabres scored a pair of goals late in the second to tie the game at 3-3 entering the third.
Vanek cut Boston's lead to 3-2 with 3:14 left in the second and a minute left on a 5-on-3 Buffalo power play, when he re-directed a Christian Ehrhoff shot from the right point.
Not even two minutes later, Ennis was left wide open at the right post, caught a perfect pass through the slot from Vanek as he was falling to the ice, and put it upstairs on Rask as he tried to quickly slide post-to-post. Rask couldn't get there in time, and Ennis tied the game.
Before any of the scoring started, the Bruins lost Shawn Thornton following a fight in the game's opening minutes with 6-foot-8 forward John Scott. The fight ended with the 6-foot-2 Thornton falling to the ice. Thornton served the fighting penalty, but went straight the the dressing room afterwards, and never returned to the game.
After a scoreless first, he Sabres had taken the initial 1-0 lead 1:38 into the second period, when Vanek one-timed an absolute rocket from the top of the left circle past Rask. Like the game-tying goal, Rask had no chance, as Vanek received a pass through the slot from the opposite circle before ripping it top-shelf.
The Bruins answered by scoring three straight goals, one from Rich Peverley and two in a row from Brad Marchand, all in a span of six minutes, taking a 3-1 lead before Buffalo tied it up at the end of the period.
TALKING POINTS, written by CSNNE Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty
GOLD STAR: Thomas Vanek finished with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) and a plus-4 in 19:21 of ice time and continued his role as certified Bruins killer with 28 goals and 54 points in 46 career games against Boston. It was the second hat trick of the season for the Austrian forward and the second five-point hes put up this year, so its not just a Black and Gold thing either. As porous as the Bruins defense was on Thursday night, a huge dollop of credit must also go to a Thomas VanekJason PominvilleCody Hodgson line that dominated the Bruins from beginning to end.BLACK EYE: Zero hits and a minus-3 is not something one usually sees next to Zdeno Chara for a stat line, but thats what was sitting there after the Bruins defenseman couldnt stop the top Buffalo line. The Bruins captain was caught up ice at points and beaten to the net at other times in one of the worst performances seen from the 6-foot-9 defenseman during his time in Boston. The big career numbers for Vanek tell you that hes one forward that Chara has his share of trouble with given his combination of sizestrength and skill.TURNING POINT: It was a see-saw game that seemed to indicate the final team to score a goal would win, but then Ryan Miller came alive in the final 20 minutes to stop the goal-fest for both sides. It was still a one-goal lead for Buffalo in the third when Miller stoned Patrice Bergeron on a point blank shot in front of the net for one of his 15 saves in the final stanza. Once Miller snuffed out that last Boston scoring chance, the insurance and empty net goals started coming.HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand scored a pair of goals for the Bruins in the second period and really allowed Boston to head into the final period tied up despite some defensive breakdowns. The rush through both Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold while waiting out Miller before roofing a backhander was a thing of beauty, and the second goal was a snipe from the slot with Tyler Seguin battling with the 6-foot-7 Myers in front of the net. There was plenty to like about Marchands performance Thursday and his team-leading five goals on the season.INJURY WARD: Shawn Thornton took several stiff overhand rights to the head courtesy of 6-foot-8 monster John Scott in their first period fight, and never returned to the ice after heading straight to the dressing room from the penalty box. Claude Julien indicated hes still being evaluated. Daniel Paille is also still under evaluation after taking a high-stick to the face in the third period that sent him to the Bs dressing room for the rest of the night.BY THE NUMBERS: 17 the number of seconds left on the clock when Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff took a timeout with a three-goal lead in the third period.QUOTE TO NOTE: Our guys were defensively brain-dead. Bruins coach Claude Julien discussing the uncharacteristic defensive miscues and blown assignments that led to allowing seven Buffalo goals in the loss.