Marchand wasted no time on his gift-wrapped chance, ripping a backhander past Lehner to give the Bruins a 2-1 OT win and a home-and-home sweep against the Sabres.
Breaking down the play – Marchand intercepted Ristolainen’s pass just outside the Buffalo blue line then turned to enter the Sabres’ zone. As Ristolainen raced in from Marchand’s left side, the wicked Sabre-killer flipped Ristolainen’s stick out of his hands and into the air. Ristolainen attempted to put his right arm on Marchard but missed him before landing a two-hand shove to his back… he never wrapped his arms around Marchand. Lehner poked the puck away and the referee’s arm pointed to center ice.
“That was a bad call that went Boston’s way. Marchand pots it and Bs win.” -Jack Edwards, Bruins play-by-play announcer
Aside from the referee’s call itself, Ristolainen, one of the Sabres’ best defenseman all year, admitted he a bad shift. He gave the puck away twice while playing in the three-on-three overtime session. “Bad play by me. They got a penalty shot and scored a goal. I shouldn’t have made the bad play before,” he said in a post-game interview. “He cut the pass and he went for a breakaway. You have to be careful with the puck and I wasn’t careful.”
Making matters even worse was the fact that Jamie McGinn was hauled down, or rather mugged, in plain sight earlier in the game and wasn’t given a penalty shot. The inconsistency by the officials was glaring.
Both games against the B’s went to OT. Buffalo played well in both, too. They could’ve easily won both. Johnson and Lehner just need some goal support. This team needs to find their offense.
If there is a silver lining, Lehner is playing like a true number one goalie. He’s sporting a glistening .940 save percentage since his return from injury. His anger was also on full display after this one ended. His eyes threw daggers at the ref and he threw his mask to the ice in frustration.
The only one that did get past Lehner was due to an egregious error by Cody Franson. His lame attempt to clear the puck up the middle was intercepted by the Bruins. After a tic-tac-toe textbook passing sequence, Loui Eriksson had all day to slip one past into to a wide-open net. Lehner had no chance.
Reinhart’s goal, a backhander, was another example of his much-improved confidence as he wheeled around Chara’s space with great positioning.
So, the Sabres take two points out of four. And to a player, they’re upset. Unfortunately they won’t get a chance to play the Bruins again this year. You can bet this game–more specifically, this call– will be easily remembered when they resume their rivalry next season.