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Rub your eyes again. The sixth-seeded Boston Bruins are now two wins away from advancing to the second round. Something that seemed so improbable just weeks ago is now a reality. The Bruins are a good team…well at least they’re playing like it.
In his 45,090,000th playoff game (well, really 154th), Mark Recchi did his part to send the B’s to the 2-1 series lead. Late in the third period, Recchi grinded the puck out of the right corner of the Sabres zone, and sent a pass right to a streaking Patrice Bergeron, who banged home the go-ahead goal that proved to be the game-winner in a 2-1 victory.
Tuukka Rask stopped 32 shots in 33 chances to pick up his second straight win, while the Sabres really missed their top scorer, Thomas Vanek, who was injured during the first period of Game 2. All the momentum during the series has swung the Bruins’ way since Vanek’s injury.
“He made some great saves to keep us in the game, particularly at the end of the game to keep us from going into overtime,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Rask.
On the other side of the ice, Olympic hero Ryan Miller was strong too, but not strong enough. He finished with 27 saves.
The Sabres struck first for the third straight game to start the series, scoring on Mike Greir’s first goal of the playoffs. During the regular season, the Sabres were 31-6-4 when scoring first. This series, however, they’re 1-2.
The goat during the regular season, Dennis Wideman, scored his first career playoff goal near the end of the first period to knot the game at 1. Wideman also later shared an assist on Bergeron’s goal, giving him two points.
The hit of the game goes to Johnny Boychuk, who got a clean (but thunderous) check on Buffalo’s Matt Ellis. He left the game for a short while after the hit, but returned to the game later.
“It kinds of gives the whole team a little boost,” Boychuck said of the hit.
With Michael Ryder, Marco Sturm, and Dennis Wideman coming up large this whole series, I guess I expect Blake Wheeler to get a hat trick in Game 4. OK, I wouldn’t bet on it. Either way, the surprising Bruins take the ice Wednesday night to host the Sabres in Game 4.