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The Bruins found themselves down 2-0 in the first period with the Sabres continuing to press the issue in front of Tuukka Rask. On the other side of the ice stood Olympic hero Ryan Miller, one of the top men between the pipes in the NHL. Down 1-0 in the series, the Bruins were in deep trouble.
I don’t know that Claude Julien borrowed some Herb Brooks speech in the first intermission, but whatever he said, it worked. The Bruins exploded for two goals in the second and three more in the third to win Game 2, 5-3.
After a shaky first period (one goals each to Tyler Myers and Matt Ellis), Tuukka Rask was rock solid all game. He finished with 26 saves, including some critical ones in the first period to keep the listless Bruins afloat. Another goal or two allowed in the period, and we likely would have seen Tim Thomas. Rask did a lot of growing up in the frame.
The Sabres, meanwhile, were riding high with a two-goal lead in the first period. Not all was well, however, as the team lost their best player in Thomas Vanek after he was hit in the foot. He did not return and his status is unknown.
The Bruins battled back with two goals in the second period from Michael Ryder and Zdeno Chara. Both goals were hard-earned, as the Bruins did a nice job of shielding Miller and disrupting his game. Julien apparently told the team during the intermission to crash the crease more. The Bruins did just that, and momentum was theirs.
A stupid Milan Lucic turnover later in the second led to a Sabres goal and another lead, 3-2. All the momentum the Bruins had built up seemed lost as they entered the second intermission.
The Sabres entered the game 31-0-0 when leading after two periods, becoming the first team since the 1994-95 Chicago Blackhawks (19-0) to go unblemished in that situation. A lot of that is luck, and a lot of that is strong defense at superb goaltending by Miller. The Sabres found themselves in that situation again in the third period of Saturday’s game, so the Bruins had to battle recent history to get over the hump. They did.
The B’s got goals from Ryder and Chara again, created the same way the first two were(though Chara’s goal was a bit of a slapshot). Leading 4-3, the Bruins had all they could do to protect the lead, as Rask faced numerous shots on goal.
With 20 seconds to go, the Bruins intercepted a pass and Mark Recchi slammed home the empty-netter and game-clincher.
With the series tied 1-1, the Bruins head home to host the Sabres in Game 3 on Monday.