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It’s that magical time of year in Boston when all four of the sports teams are still in action. Of course the focus is on the Red Sox as they are competing for their eighth World Series Championship. However, while the Red Sox dominated Game 1 of the series last week, the Bruins were also in action against the Buffalo Sabres.
The game itself was not all that significant as the Bruins are one of the best teams in the newly configured Atlantic Division and Buffalo is literally the worst team in the division. Not to mention the young NHL season is only about 10 games deep. What that doesn’t mean is that nothing significant could happen during the game, and in fact there were a couple of developments that were crucial for the Bruins moving forward in the season.
The story of the night was not that the Bruins handily beat the Sabres 5-2 but rather John Scott’s illegal hit on Bruins forward Loui Eriksson. Eriksson you’ll remember was the key piece in the deal that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas and is now a fixture in the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith/Brad Marchand.
A little less than six minutes into the third period Scott, a known “goon” or thug, charged across center ice and hit Eriksson straight in the head after Eriksson had released a pass and was essentially defenseless. The scene was eerily similar to Matt Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard that basically ended Savard’s career. Scott was ejected from the game after Adam McQuaid made him atone for his sins with a fight.
Eriksson lay on the ice for a few minutes before needing to be helped off and failing to return to the game. While no injury had been disclosed after the game, Eriksson did spend the night in a Buffalo hospital and was due to return to Boston on Thursday. It has now come to light that Eriksson did suffer a concussion. Scott has been suspended indefinitely pending a disciplinary hearing.
A few other interesting developments also occurred. New acquisition and Tuukka Rask backup Chad Johnson (not of the Ochocinco family) got his first start as a Bruin. Johnson’s stats weren’t eye catching as he recorded 14 saves on 16 shots, but he did get the all important two points with the win. Johnson proved that he can be a reliable option to spell Rask as the season progresses.
The final takeaway from the night had to be the play of the young defensemen. Torey Krug logged just under 20 minutes of ice time, including time on both the power play and the penalty kill. He also added two goals to his resume’ which included a power play goal (during the Scott penalty) where the Bruins have been severely lacking. Dougie Hamilton was also no scrub as he had an impressive 21:40 of ice time, also with time on the power play and penalty kill, and recorded a goal of his own.