The Bruins have extended their win streak to 5 games now, in another blowout victory. This time, the Bruins beat up on division rival Buffalo, winning 6-2. Tyler Seguin extended his point streak to 6 games now, scoring 2 goals and an assist in the game. Seguin has now matched his goal total from a year ago with 11. However, it’s only taken him 15 games to amas that total, whereas it took him 74 games last year. Seguin should easily reach 20 goals this season, and I think he will easily reach 30 goals as well. How much he’ll have at the end of the year, I don’t know, but I can tell you that it will be the most on the Bruins and tops in the league, if he can stay healthy. Andrew Ference missed the game, and is day-to-day with a lower body injury he suffered last game out against Edmonton.
Before any festivities could commence Saturday night, there was a very touching ceremony at center ice to honor the veterans. The puck was dropped by the mother and father of a National Guardsman over in Afghanistan. The Bruins surprised the parents though, having their son walk out of the Zamboni tunnel, being on leave from Afghanistan. It was a great moment for all, and must have been quite a moment for that family. On to the hockey game we go. Buffalo got things started, creating a chance off a face-off in the Boston zone. Cody McCormick took the puck off the draw, and skated right through the slot. Thomas with his aggressive style though was able to close the angle, and McCormick shot the puck wide. Boston took the puck down the ice into the attacking zone, where the puck was sent behind the Buffalo net. Johnny Boychuk went down to get the puck, and made a behind the back blind pass to the slot. It was picked off by Jason Pomenville, who passed ahead to Thomas Vanek. Vanek came up ice with speed, and skated into the far slot. He shot the puck off the goal apron, but it came right back to Vanek who was able to bank the puck into the net off of Tim Thomas’s skate. Vanek did this last year, bouncing a goal off of Thomas’s back. Buffalo was up 1-0 at 5:38. But the Sabers would go on the penalty kill just moments later, when Tyler Myers would be called for tripping at 6:56. The Boston powerplay couldn’t get the breaks it has been getting recently, and the B’s remained down 1-0. A bad break for Vanek minutes later, as the puck would take a funny bounce off his stick at the Boston point. Milan Lucic jumped up, and had a breakaway now. The puck was a bit out of his reach as he entered the attacking zone, and Ryan Miller came out to clear the puck. Lucic had built up speed down the ice, and he decided to absolutely destroy Miller, leveling him with the shoulder. The hit actually jarred the helmet off of Miller. 3 Sabers came over to say ‘hello’, but no one so much as challenged Lucic. Lucic received 2 minutes for charging at 13:12. The Bruins penalty killers were all over the ice, not allowing the Sabers to get a shot on net. The Sabers would then kill off their own penalty, when Drew Stafford was called for tripping at 14:50. So we had 23 seconds of 4-on-4 before the Bruins would get a powerplay to work with. Again though, the Bruins powerplay was ineffective. The Sabers would go right back on the penalty kill, when Ville Leino was called for hooking at 19:08. The 1st period came to a close with the Sabers up 1-0, and the Bruins would have powerplay time extend over to the 2nd period.
Boston had 1 minute of powerplay to open up the period. Tyler Seguin set up a great chance for Marchand far slot, but his pass was blocked by the Sabers defenders. The powerplay was over, with Boston only able to get 1 shot through the Sabers defense. Seguin created another chance for the Bruins, flying up ice with Bergeron. Seguin passed back to Bergeron, but his shot was blocked down. A Buffalo bounce led to a 2-on-1 coming back up ice, but Chara deflected a cross-ice pass with his stick. Rich Peverley intercepted a pass at center ice, and he tried making a cross ice pass to Campbell. The puck defelcted off Sabers defenseman Tyler Myers, and Peverly, following his pass, picked up the loose puck. Peverley was now behind the Buffalo defense, he skated through the slot, deked, and beat Miller 5-hole. Boston had tied the game at 1, at 7:40. Next up Marchand picked off a pass, and with Seguin charging late had a 2-on-1. Marchand had the entire near side to work with, and he methodically skated in. Seguin came into the slot, Marchand centered a pass for him, and Seguin buried it in the back of the net. Boston had taken the lead 2-1 at 13:29. Next in line was Nathan Horton, as he skated behind the Buffalo defense, and received a chip pass from Boychuk into the neutral zone. Horton cam up ice with David Kreci, and decided to rifle a shot high blocker side on Ryan Miller. The Bruins had just scored 2 goals in 16 seconds to take the 3-1 lead. That marks the 9th time this year the Bruins have scored 2 goals in less than 1 minute. Koleta tried bringing the fight back to Boston, as he hammered Adam McQuaid behind the Boston net. McQuaid didn’t like that, and started pushing and hitting Koleta back. Things were percolating in the TD Garden. Koleta would be called for charging, and McQuaid for roughing at 14:05. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. The 4-on-4 went without any good chances, and McQuaid would go right back into the box after he got out. McQuaid was called for hooking at 18:01. The Bruins now had an important penalty to kill off at the end of the period. If the Sabers did not score, they would end up with 1 second of powerplay time to open up the 3rd period. Ville Leino would have a great chance late, as he rifled a one-timer from the near circle on Thomas. Thomas kicked out with his left pad to make the save, and a juicy rebound was kicked away by Seidenberg. The Bruins had a 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd and final period, and a 4 game win streak on the line.
Jonas Enroth was in-goal to start the 3rd period. An interesting move by Sabers coach Lindy Ruff. Unless the team felt Miller wasn’t in good enough physical condition to continue after the Lucic hit, then it makes no sense to me. The Sabers opened up the 3rd period with a powerplay, and it was over 1 second later. David Kreci was working magic behind the Buffalo net, and he found Milan Lucic who rang the crossbar. But Boston would make it count just moments later. Another bad pass by the Sabers defense, with Christian Ernhoff giving the puck up to Rich Peverley in the far circle. Peverley passed across ice to Chris Kelly, who sneaked the puck into the back of the net. Boston was suddenly up 4-1 now at 5:28. Then it was the Bergeron line creating chances again for Boston. Patrice Bergeron skated up ice with speed, and passed across ice to Brad Marchand. Marchand dropped the pass back off for Bergeron in the high slot, and he carried it to the near slot. He centered a pass for Tyler Seguin, and Seguin buried the puck in the back of the net. Boston was up 5-1, just 1:43 after the Chris Kelly goal. The Bergeron line wasn’t done their, as Brad Marchand came back with an amazing backhand goal in the near slot. Boston was up 6-1 now at 9:52. Kaleta was trying to cause more trouble, this time with Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk checked Koleta hard in the far corner in the Buffalo zone. Koleta then took a run at Boychuk as he went for a change. Zach Hamill, who is by no means a fighter, took a solid jab at Koleta. He would get 2 minutes for roughing at 11:50, but given the circumstances, it was a good penalty to take. A face-off win by Luke Adam was sent back to Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff passed across ice to Marc-Andre Gragnani at the near point, and he would rifle a shot that rang off the post and in. Buffalo was back on the board finally at 13:20. Boston would go back on the penalty kill at 14:22, when Nathan Horton was called for slashing. No goal this time for the Sabers, and Horton fresh out of the box was back with his linemates. Nathan Horton had an amazing chance in the near slot, as he deked out Enroth and passed back across ice to Milan Lucic. Lucic had a wide open net to shoot at, but the puck was in on his skates, and he couldn’t get a shot off. Koleta was again trying to mix it up with somebody, this time it was Shawn Thornton. Koleta checked Thornton at the penalty benches, and Thornton didn’t like the hit. Thronton gave Koleta a shove, Koleta shoved back, and the referees decided to send both players down the tunnel. Thornton and Koleta received offsetting minors for roughing at 18:20, as well as game misconducts. The final 1:40 would be played 4-on-4. The Bruins just kept clearing the puck and clearing the puck as the clock wound down. The Bruins had won their 5th straight game now, winning 6-2.
Boston dominated again on the ice Saturday night. They have now scored 6 goals in the last 3 games, and 30 in this 5 game win streak. The offense is hot, no doubt about it, but the defense is also playing solid hockey. It’s just like with any sport, when your offense is scoring at will, it allows you to play more comfortably on defense. Brad Marchand is starting to find the scoring touch again, scoring 3 goals, 2 assists, and +4 over the last 2 games. Lucic and Horton, whom I talked about last game out against Edmonton, continue to produce during this 5 game win streak. Lucic has 4 goals, 2 assists, for a +5 rating, and Horton has 3 goals, an assist, and a +2 rating. With the offense this hot, it will take a lot to beat the Bruins in the next week to 2 weeks. The Bruins play the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night, in what should be an easy win. The Devils are 8-6-1, 1 game better than the Bruins at 8-7-0. Which should put the Bruins 5 game win streak into perspective. Boston is on a hot streak, and are a much better team than the Devils. Unless they suddenly cool off, I expect another dominating performance.
Ryan Miller has been diagnosed as having suffered a concussion from the hit by Milan Lucic. This would explain why Miller did not return for the 3rd period of the game Saturday night. My question is, how was he able to continue play for 26:48 after the injury? There are a couple of answers to that; either A: Miller showed no signs of an injury until the 2nd period intermission, or B: Miller talked the training staff into letting him play/the training staff allowed him to play even though they knew he was hurt. If it was the later, then how negligent of that training staff. It’s their job to take care of their players, especially their superstar franchise goaltender. If Miller was showing any signs of a concussion, then he should have been sent to the quiet room for 15 minutes. Now, I don’t think this is what happened. In all likelihood, Miller just did not have any symptoms and felt fine until the 2nd intermission. But, it’s something to think about.