It’s been an overall positive month for the Boston Bruins, winning 5 and dropping just two games, one to the New York Rangers in OT on January 23rd and the other to the Buffalo Sabres on January 31st. It’s safe to say the Bruins are riding a hot streak exactly when it matters the most. For every team in the NHL the abbreviated season means a strong start is necessary and every game counts.
“I understand the fact that it’s about your division, but at the same time I think when you look at this short schedule, every game is important,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “The games mean so much right now, that every one has almost equal meaning.”
The Bruins have been able to get their heads in the game early on and that’s all that fans could hope for.
Closing out January, the Buffalo Sabres came to town Thursday evening ready to lay down the tempo of the game early on. Recent addition forward Chris Bourque, who had a notably successful season in Providence got the scratch, allowing forward Lane MacDermid the start after sitting the first 6 games of the season.
The first period proved the speculation of rough hockey right as Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Sabres designated enforcer John Scott at 2:53, although that would be the only fight of the period. Thornton a notably strong enforcer on the ice was dropped quicker than usual. It was announced that Thornton would not return to the game after the tousle. While the Bruins outshot the Sabres 13 to 9, neither team was able to get the puck in the net.
Getting the scoring going, Thomas Vanek continued his hot streak netting his 4th of the season, assisted by Hodgson and Pominville, a line that has been nothing short of solid for the Sabres line. Often underestimated, but key player Rich Peverly made it a 1-1 game after continued pressure at 5:12, Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille assisted on the goal. The goal train kept coming for Boston as Brad Marchand found the back of the net with help from Patrice Bergeron at 7:43. Celebrating his 21st birthday, Bruins Tyler Seguin and line mate Patrice Bergeron helped Brad Marchand put the puck past Miller for his second of the game. Buffalo caught a break as Lucic and Chara were both sent to the box, giving the Sabres a 5 on 3 advantage, one they capitalized on as Vanek scored his second of the game. Mimicking the Bruins scoring opportunities from the beginning of the period, the Sabres made it a tied game as Tyler Ennis beat Rask and gave Buffalo their third goal at 18:19.
Hungry to end the game in regulation, Boston came out strong to start the third. Patrice Bergeron came off a hit and skated right to the locker room less than a minute into the period. Putting the game at 4-3, David Krejci scored at 1:45, but the score wouldn’t remain in Boston’s favor for long as Buffalos Alexander Sulzer made it 4-4, scoring his first of the season at 2:28. While fans were hoping for the next goal to go in the Bruins favor, Buffalos Cody Hodgson found the net and made it 5-4 in favor of the Sabres.
Just when the Bruins thought they’d caught a break as Buffalos Tyler Myers took a double minor high sticking penalty, Dennis Seidenberg got sent to the box for tripping leaving the teams playing 4 on 4 hockey and the Bruins unable to score during their opportunity. Putting a nail in Boston’s chance to come back, Sabres Vanek scored his third for a hat trick and a 4-6 lead, followed by Jason Pominville grabbing an empty net goal to make the final 7-4.
The Bruins will look to skate into February with the same determination that had them an almost undefeated team in January. While February is a short month, fans can expect no shortage of their black and gold, as the team plays 11 games during the month. Only 3 of those will occur on home ice, beginning on February 9th when Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lighting face off for a 1 pm puck drop.
Videos from Vanek and Pominville be seen below:YouTube responded to TubePress with an HTTP 410 - No longer available YouTube responded to TubePress with an HTTP 410 - No longer available