Talking Points: Sabres 4, Bruins 2

Talking Points: Sabres 4, Bruins 2
December 20, 2013, 12:00 am
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CSNNE.com Bruins insider Joe Haggerty passes out the good and bad grades from the B's 4-2 loss in Buffalo:

GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand was the subject of a lot of discussion over the past couple of days, and clearly the Bruins coaching staff and management didn’t love the stuff he was pulling in Vancouver. Peter Chiarelli went the extra mile of saying that he wasn’t going to trade the B’s agitator on Thursday morning, and perhaps that did something to set Marchand’s mind at ease. He had a season-high five shots on net and created eight shot attempts in the defeat. He scored a pair of goals in the second period that amounted to all of Boston’s offense. Even more encouraging was the way he was getting to the front of the net, and taking the puck into the offensive zone in north/south fashion rather taking circular routes to get there. That’s much more of what the Bruins want to see out of their resident pest, and was an encouraging sign in a losing effort.

BLACK EYE: Chad Johnson has been pretty decent this season, but the winning goal was his bad in a major way. The Bruins allowed only five shots in the third period, but watched as Buffalo potted a pair of goals in that period to take home the victory. The killer was a Drew Stafford wraparound goal that served as the game-winner, and was absolutely a shot that the B’s netminder needs to have. In all, Johnson stopped only 19-of-23 shots in a game that the Bruins dominated for long portions, but couldn’t find the same kind of holes in Ryan Miller’s game.

TURNING POINT: Clearly it was the third period when the Bruins peppered Miller and the Sabres with 15 shots on net, but couldn’t find a way to get one puck through. Meanwhile the Sabres managed just five shots, but scored on the Stafford wraparound and a Tyler Myers wrist shot from the slot that beat Johnson to the top corner of the net. Clearly, the Bruins’ top players could carry the Black and Gold for only so long amid the injuries, and it would appear that time has come to an end.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brian Flynn had a pair of points, a shorthanded goal and led the Sabres with a plus-3 rating while using his skating speed – and one mean backhanded shot in tight – to confound the Bruins. Flynn also won 9-of-14 face-offs against the Bruins, and really acquitted himself well as a youngster still getting used to the Atlantic Division rivalry. The University of Maine has produced another good, young hockey talent in Flynn, and the Sabres have found a player with some skills to help them out of their plight.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of short-handed goals for Brad Marchand after his second period special teams strike, which puts him in a tie for the NHL lead with a number of other players.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think [Marchand] was close to his old self tonight, and that was nice to see.” –Claude Julien to reporters after watching his right winger score a pair of goals in Thursday night’s loss to the Sabres.