It looked like the Bruins were going to muscle their way out of a sub-par night in Buffalo.
But the B's couldn't kill the beast, and Buffalo capitalized on a few defensive breakdowns by Boston, leaving the Black and Gold alone to wonder how things changed so quickly.
Buffalo scored a 5-4 win on home ice, which will probably prove to be one of their last bright spots in a season which has not gone according to plan.
Matt Moulson tied the game at 4 with just 52 seconds left in the third period to send the game to overtime, and Matt D'Agostini scored the game-winner 22 seconds into OT to steal the extra point away from the Bruins.
|Sabres trip up the B's (by R. Stewart/Getty)|
But Boston couldn't hold off the Sabres until the end, and Buffalo took advantage of their second-life big time.
Zemgus Girgensons opened the scoring 3:22 into the game when his shot leaked past the five-hole of Chad Johnson. It was a bad goal for Johnson to give up (the theme of the night) and it put the Bruins behind until Chris Kelly tied the game seven minutes later.
Kelly and his linemates Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg worked a monster shift in the Sabres zone, and eventually the puck found Kelly in the circle where he corralled the bouncing puck and ripped a bullet shot over the glove of Jhonas Enroth.
The second period saw a slew of penalties breaking up the flow of the game, with the Bruins getting called for six (six!) and the Sabres for two, with one of them being matching unsportsmanlike conducts on Marcus Foligno and Kevan Miller.
But goals were a plenty, too. Boston and Buffalo both scored twice in the frame, the Sabres netting their two before the Bruins hit back with two of their own.
Tyler Myers scored his 7th of the year on the powerplay at 6:25, and Brian Flynn netted his 5th of the year three minutes later at 9:10.
But the Bruins kept fighting, and it payed off with Zdeno Chara's 14th at 11:01 on the powerplay, and Brad Marchand at 17:46 with his 20th of the year, the first Bruin to do so this season.
The tie held until the middle of the third period, where yet another penalty altered the scoreline.
Milan Lucic put the Bruins ahead, scoring the third unanswered goal for Boston, and again on the powerplay. With Matt Moulson serving a double minor for high-sticking Chris Kelly, the Bruins powerplay unit jumped all over the Sabres, with Torey Krug providing the slick moves behind the net to set up Lucic's slapshot bomb that beat Enroth.
But the Bruins couldn't hold on for the win, as Matt Moulson redeemed himself big time, tying the game with 52 seconds left in the third on a dirty goal in front of the net. Matt Bartkowski lost Moulson after a battle in the corner, and Moulson drove the net and banged in his own rebound to beat Johnson.
Overtime didn't last long (22 seconds to be exact), as the Bruins got caught out of position on a wonky deflection in the offensive zone.
Loui Eriksson's errant pass back to the blueline was deflected by Steve Ott all the way into the neutral zone, where Matt D'Agostini outraced Zdeno Chara and Chris Kelly and got inside position going to the net and got the backhand past Chad Johnson.
As the Bruins have been doing for much of the year, they were again playing with three forwards and one defensemen in the OT period. The third line was on the ice, with Chris Kelly playing the side opposite Chara on the blueline.
When Ott's deflection of Eriksson's pass eluded Chara, Kelly was late to picking up D'Agostini charging the defensive zone.
The couple of mental lapses loomed large, as the Bruins miss out out on cracking the 80 point mark for the season. Not to mention letting a point slip through their fingers against a much weaker hockey team.
But Buffalo always seem to play the Bruins tough, and the Black and Gold have allowed the pesky Sabres to beat them the last to trips to upstate New York. They shouldn't be happy with that.
The Bruins have the next two days off before they take on the Capitals in a Saturday matinee at the Garden.