The Bruins and Sabres took to the Garden ice on Saint Patrick's Day after both teams were defeated by the Washington Caps on back to back nights on Sunday and Monday. Buffalo was playing for two things: pride and Connor Mcdavid (the projected #1 overall draft pick this summer). The Bruins on the other hand just had their 5-game winning streak snapped on Sunday in Washington, and were looking to rebound against a struggling Sabres squad and increase their lead over Ottawa and Florida for the 8th and final playoff spot.
Niklas Svedberg got the start in net for the Bruins, a common move by Claude Julien whenever the Bruins face non-playoff caliber competition and they need to give Tuukka rest.
The B's got off to as good of a start as they possibly could, generating great zone time and cycling behind the Buffalo net, especially with the Lucic, Spooner, and Pastrnak line.
Loui Eriksson got the Bruins on the board first at 9:55 into the first period after Carl Soderberg won the face off in the Buffalo end and Adam McQuaid shot the puck intentionally wide. The puck caromed off the boards and the side of the net and Loui Eriksson sat on the doorstep and smacked it home to give the Bruins the early lead.
A key play later in the period was the back checking effort by Daniel Paille on a rush by Buffalo's Tyson Strachan. Strachan drove the puck to the net and right as he was about to tuck it around the pad of Svedberg, Paille absolutely laid the boom on Strachan, knocking the puck away from him and causing him to fall to the ice, allowing Boston to maintain their 1 goal advantage.
The Bruins completely dominated the Sabres in the first frame, outshooting them 14-3 and they held a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
It was the same story in the second period, as the Bruins controlled the play in the Buffalo end for the majority of the frame. The Bruins outshot the Sabres 26-10 by the end of the second period, and even with all of the great cycling, zone time, and scoring chances the Bruins had, they were unable to put one in the back of the net, and the game remained 1-0 Bruins heading into the third period.
Carl Soderberg took a holding penalty with two seconds left in the second period, and it would turn out to be a costly one. Buffalo would capitalize on the ensuing power play in the first two minutes of the third period when Rasmus Ristolainen's shot from the point found its way through traffic and got by Niklas Svedberg, and the game was tied at one early in the third period.
Brad Marchand hit a post, and the Bruins had incredible chances to take the lead in the final minutes of the third period, but the game remained tied and therefore went into a five minute overtime.
The Bruins had a multitude of chances in the extra period but neither team could bury the game winner and the game went to a shootout.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand couldn't tuck in their shootout chances, and Tyler Ennis buried his top shelf on Niklas Svedberg, so the game came down to Tory Krug's stick. Krug's shootout attempt went wide of the net and the Sabres stole a win in Boston.
Missed chances and inability to capitalize when the puck was in the Buffalo end for the majority of the game plagued the Bruins. Boston outshot Buffalo 45-24, and Anders Lindback played arguably the best game of his career. The Bruins will look to rebound on Thursday with a huge matchup against Ottawa in an almost must-win situation.
9:55 Loui Eriksson 18 (Assists: Adam McQuaid 4, Carl Soderberg 26)
1:23 Rasmus Ristolainen 5 (Assists: Brian Gionta 14, Johan Larsson 5)