GOLD STAR: Lynnfield, Mass. native Brian Flynn gave the Sabres plenty of energy early when he blew up Torey Krug behind the net and fed Zemgus Girgensons in front for Buffalo’s first goal. Flynn showed some finish in the second period when he wobbled a knuckle puck past Chad Johnson from the slot, and gave the Sabres plenty of bang for their buck in 14:04 of ice time. The University of Maine alum has performed very well against his hometown Bruins in a few games against them this season, and appears to be making a name for himself with the Sabres during a difficult situation. Jhonas Enroth was also pretty good in a 29-save effort where the Bruins had plenty of scoring chances in the final couple of periods, but give it to the local kid.
BLACK EYE: Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic and David Krejci finished with a combined minus-9 in the game, and didn’t create anything offensively during five-on-five play in a game against the lowly Sabres. It certainly looked like there was rust with that line and plenty of inconsistency to go around as with the rest of the Bruins roster. Lucic did produce the power-play goal that could have been the winning strike in the third period had his line not given it back in the final minute of the third period.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins have allowed one too many tying or go-ahead goals in the final minute of periods this season, and they did it again in the final minute of the third period nursing a one-goal lead. Matt Bartkowski swiped and missed at Matt Moulson carrying the puck behind the net and that turned into a bouncing puck off the skate of Johnny Boychuk in front. Moulson collected that puck, and buried a shot past Chad Johnson with 52 seconds remaining to push things into overtime. The Bruins salvaged a point by getting things into overtime, but looked altogether way too inconsistent in their first game after the Olympic break.
HONORABLE MENTION: Chris Kelly was one of the B’s best players throughout the game and scored the team’s first goal on a top-shelf laser shot at 14:57 of the first period. He finished with six shot attempts and teamed with Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg as Boston’s most effective forward line for the Black and Gold. Kelly had a couple of other breakaway chances, including one short-handed when he sped past Alex Sulzer, but couldn’t put any other chances away for the Bruins. The play of Kelly, Loui Eriksson (seven shot attempts) and Carl Soderberg was a bright spot in the loss.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of Olympians that looked tired and heavy-legged in the overtime play where the Bruins ultimately lost. Loui Eriksson fired an errant point pass that started Buffalo’s transition game and Matt D’Agostini beat a gassed Zdeno Chara to the loose puck for the breakaway backhanded game-winner for the Sabres.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Offensively I didn’t mind our game. You score four goals and you should win the game, but we were definitely rusty defensively. There were two goals we gave up from the slot area, and we didn’t get the timely saves.” –Claude Julien, who had a pretty clear idea of what went right and wrong in a 5-4 loss to Buffalo.