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Losers of eight of nine, the Bruins enjoyed a much-needed rest of four full days after Sunday’s ugly loss to the Hurricanes. Friday night’s opponent was the Northeast-leading Sabres, a team the Bruins should probably play well against if they’d like a shot to sneak back into the playoff picture. After taking the first two games in the season series, the Bruins were likely to continue that trend against the Sabres, especially since center Marc Savard was returning from the knee injury he suffered earlier in the month. Defying logic, the Bruins continued their free-fall with a rough 2-1 loss that could send the season spiraling out of control.
Probable Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller was stellar yet again for Buffalo, finishing with 30 saves, and helping to send the Bruins to their sixth straight game without a point, their longest winless drought since December 2007. Over the last 10 games, the Bruins have collected just three points in going 1-8-1.
In his return, Savard logged over 18 minutes of ice time, and finished with one assist. His exceptional performance is absolutely critical to the team’s success down the road. Just ask Milan Lucic:
“He’s a big part of this team,” Lucic said. “We need him around here and we need him to do his part.”
Even with Savard in the fold, the Bruins still found themselves down 2-0 in the first period after a goal by Henrik Tallinder just four minutes into the game, and a power-play goal by Thomas Vanek near the end of the period.
Lucic gave the Bruins a chance in the second period, scoring his third goal of the campaign with assists by two familiar faces who need to step up the rest of the way: Savard and Zdeno Chara.
In all, Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots in 23 chances.
The Bruins are in a bit of trouble. As Brian touched on in his piece earlier this week, the B’s have an uphill, but not impossible, climb to the postseason.
As of now, the Bruins have 54 points and are just one point away from the 7th and 8th seeds, and two points behind the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. Fortunately for the Bruins, most of the bottom half conference is struggling too, except for Ottawa (eight straight wins) and Florida (6-2-2 in the last 10 games). So, there is still hope.
The Bruins don’t get any rest after Friday’s game, as they host the L.A. Kings at the TD Garden. Both teams are reportedly interested in acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk, and if the Bruins continue their slide, I bet the team will pull the trigger on a deal soon.