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It’s still anyone’s series, but the Bruins missed out on a golden opportunity to take an early series lead Thursday night in Buffalo. Instead, Olympic hero Ryan Miller stopped all but one of Boston’s 39 shots on the night, including 24 shots in the second period alone, en route to a 2-1 win in Game 1 of their opening round playoff series.
Both teams came out swinging in the opening minutes, with physical, chippy play rising to the top from the outset. The game’s first tally unfortunately went Buffalo’s way however, as the red hot Thomas Vanek lifted one past Boston’s Tuukka Rask in the game’s fifth minute, giving Buffalo the early 1-0 lead.
That score stood until midway through the middle frame, when Boston enjoyed their first power play opportunity. The golden oldie, Mark Recchi, notched his 51st career playoff goal, knocking home a Zdeno Chara rebound that beat Miller to even the score at a goal a piece.
Less than five minutes later however, it was Buffalo’s captain, Craig Rivet, whose sharp-angle slapper from the right circle got the better of Tuukka Rask, and proved to be the game winner, as Boston’s anemic offense remained starved for the equalizer, leaving the B’s on the short end of a 2-1 series opener.
For Boston, they have to right the ship and find answers quick, as Game 2 is merely 36 hours away, Saturday afternoon at HSBC Center in Buffalo. The game will be televised nationally on NBC at 1 p.m.