Sabres move into 7th place win overtime win against Boston
The Sabres entered the night with a 3-1-1 record on the season against division rival Boston. It looked bleak at times, and it took a serious gut-check at one point, but Buffalo improved that record to 4-1-1 at the end of the contest.
A rather uneventful first period started out on an exciting note with a fight between Cody McCormick and Boston’s Gregory Campbell. The two ran into each behind the Buffalo net, in what looked like a completely average meeting of the bodies, but it was enough inspiration for them to get into a scuffle.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, it was the Bruins who struck first, putting one in behind Ryan Miller at 8:54 of the first. Several Boston players employed an effective rush into the Buffalo zone, and Nathan Horton scored a tip-in from about ten feet in front of Miller.
The Sabres had a great opportunity to tie the game at one early in the second period after two consecutive Boston penalties, which allowed Buffalo a 5-on-3 advantage for nearly a full moment. However, the Sabres could not beat goaltender Tim Thomas, and instead would find themselves down by two goals shortly after.
Just as Buffalo escaped a penalty kill situation, Boston applied enough pressure for Mark Recchi to fire off a wrist-shot that upped his team’s lead to two goals. The Sabres had been badly out-played up to that point, and failed on any and every good chance to put themselves on the board.
Yet in typical Sabres fashion, a two-goal lead by the opposition hardly made them blink. Just 27 seconds after Recchi’s goal, Tyler Ennis gave Buffalo its first tally of the night. As multiple Sabres players crashed the net, Thomas tripped over one of his teammates, and Ennis was able to bounce the puck off a Bruin which quickly fell into the back of the net.
The Sabres continued to play with a visible fervor, and with barely a minute left in the second period, added their second goal of the night. With just 16 seconds remaining on their power play, the Sabres initiated another scramble in front of the Boston net, where Ennis lifted a puck towards Thomas.
The Boston goaltender couldn’t manage to catch it, and in a flash Thomas Vanek poked the puck in behind him for his 24th of the year.
The Bruins wasted no time in the third period to halt Buffalo’s momentum. After only three minutes and 25 seconds of play, Gregory Campbell punched a rebound which came off of Miller and helped Boston regain their lead.
It was heated contest from start to finish, but the Bruins appeared to be a little too spirited, and at 3:42 of the third found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-on-3 man advantage for the second time in the game. Buffalo managed to capitalize on the golden opportunity, with Tim Connolly netting his 9th goal of the year after yet another melee in front of the Boston net.
Although both teams produced solid chances throughout the rest of the period, it couldn’t keep them from avoiding a thrilling overtime session. Boston nearly secured the win on a shot by Rich Peverely, but the puck rang off the pipe. Later, a backhand by Recchi flew through the crease so fast that Miller couldn’t get a handle on it.
Nathan Gerbe apparently was not impressed. The five-foot-six forward stormed into the Boston zone and blasted Thomas with a hard shot. The goalie, who came way out of his own crease, failed to corral the puck. Gerbe recollected it and backhanded towards the net, where a wide-open Brad Boyes effortlessly tapped it in for the win.
The goal was Boyes’ sixth point in as many games as he’s been a member of the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Miller stopped 26 of 29 shots in the win, while Tim Thomas allowed four goals on 45 shots.
The win moved the team into 7th place of the Eastern Conference, with two games in hand over the 8th place (also with 74 points) New York Rangers.