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Bruins Help Themselves in Playoff Push, Beat Sabres 3-1

Zdeno Chara (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Needing a win to help its playoff chances, the Boston Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night. The Sabres gave the B’s a gift before the game even started, as they sat their All-Star and Olympian goalie Ryan Miller. Miller is 40-18-8 on the season so it’s a good thing that he wasn’t playing. Instead, Boston got to see Patrick Lalime in between the pipes for Buffalo who was starting only his 12th game of the year.

After falling behind in the first period, the Bruins used a goal in the second and then two more in the third to get the 3-1 victory over the Sabres Thursday night.

It was a crucial game for the Bruins who are battling it out with the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers for the last playoff spot. Of those four teams, one will not make it. Before Thursday’s game, the Bruins held the eighth and final spot with the Rangers on the outside looking in, but only one point behind Boston. Now, the Bruins are two points ahead of the Rangers and are in a tie with the Flyers at 87 points.

The win brought the Bruins to 37-30-13 on the season while the Sabres fell to 44-26-10.

Without Dennis Seidenberg for the rest of the season due to surgery on his wrist and Andrew Ference still out due to a groin injury, the Bruins were more shorthanded as ever, but that didn’t stop them from making that final push to make it into the playoffs.  

Tuukka Rask started in goal for the Bruins and had another stellar night between the pipes. He saved 31-of-32 shots on goal for his 21st win of the season.

Lalime had a decent game for Buffalo, as he stopped 31-of-34 shots on goal. The loss dropped him to 4-7-2 on the year.

First Period

  • 11 minutes into the game, Buffalo’s leading scorer Derek Roy added his 25th goal of the season as he snuck the past right past Rask’s glove to give the Sabres the first goal of the game. Roy was assisted by Nathan Gerbe and Drew Stafford. Sabres up 1-0
  • Four minutes later, Shawn Thornton tried to get things going for the Bruins by throwing down his gloves in a scuffle with Paul Gaustad, but to much dismay, Gaustad avoided all controversy with the Bruins’ leader in fighting majors. Thornton was given a two-minute penalty for roughing, Gaustad got nothing. 

Second Period

  • It didn’t take long for the Bruins to get on the board in the second as Miroslav Satan netted his ninth goal of the season to tie things up. He was assisted by David Krejci on the play. Bruins tied 1-1

Third Period

  • The Bruins came out of the second intermission ready to play and they were led by Dennis Wideman, who added his sixth goal of the year less than two minutes into the period to give Boston the lead for the first time. He was assisted by Vladimir Sobotka on the play. Bruins up 2-1
  • Sobotka of the Bruins and Gerbe of the Sabres got into a fight of their own midway through the period with both players recieving two minutes in the box for roughing.
  • With a little less than four minutes left in the game, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara gave Boston a two-goal lead with his eigth goal of the season. The goal was unassisted. Bruins up 3-1

The Bruins will next take on the Carolina Hurricanes at home Saturday night.

Game Notes

  • Along with Seidenberg and Ference, the Bruins were without Mark Stuart, Brad Marchand, and Trent Whitfield.
  • Both teams struggled on the power play as the Bruins went 0-for-5 and the Sabres went 0-for-3.
  • Boston narrowly out-shot Buffalo 34-to-32 and out-hit them 19-to-15.
  • The Sabres racked up more penalty minutes (12) than the Bruins (8).
  • The Bruins also won more faceoffs (37) than the Sabres (28).

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