After a shaky start on offensive for the first six games of the season, the Boston Bruins have scored five goals in the last two games. After putting five goals up against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they continued their good offensive play in Buffalo, beating the Sabres 5-2.
The Bruins game usually thrives off their physical play; it is no secret the team just seems to play better when they bring their hitting game from the opening puck drop. Last night in Buffalo however, the Sabres out hit the Bruins 23-5.
So how were the Bruins so successful?
The simplest answer is also the correct one, the Boston Bruins are just better than the Buffalo Sabres. From the opening period until the last, there was no doubt who the better team was. The Bruins looked faster, smarter and more talented than the Sabres all game.
The first two goals were scored by the Bruins leading scorer so far, Milan Lucic. The first by Lucic was off a wrist shot by Jarome Iginla that deflected off the skate of Lucic past Sabres goalie Ryan Miller 11:01 in the first period. Iginla and Krejci both picked up assists on the goal.
The Bruins led 1-0 after the first and it didn’t take long for them to get a two goal lead as Lucic scored for a second time, forty seconds into the second period. The goal was a good example of how Lucic and Iginla seem to be becoming more comfortable with each other and are getting a feel of what the other is going to do in certain situations. As Iginla was skating down the right side of the offensive zone, he knew to look for Lucic barreling down the left side and delivered the puck in an area where Lucic could get the tip past Miller. It is the decision making of Iginla along with the finishing abilities of Lucic exhibited on that goal that could make the Bruins first line one of the best in the entire NHL.
A too many men on the ice penalty at 07:38 in the second against the Bruins led to the Sabres cutting the lead to 2-1. A Thomas Vanek shot deflected off the skate of Cody Hodgson on the power-play getting the Sabres on the board less than a minute into the man advantage.
The Bruins made it a 3-1 game at 11:50 of the second period when Brad Marchand made a cross-crease pass to defenseman Dougie Hamilton who roofed the puck past the goaltender. Buffalo was able to creep closer however, making it a 3-2 game at 15:10 by Nikita Zadorov. For Zadorov, it was his first NHL goal.
After Torey Krug made it a 4-2 game at 04:17 in the third period, the Bruins were well on their way to a third consecutive victory. The game got interesting again when Sabres forward John Scott had a late hit on the Bruins Loui Eriksson with an elbow to his head. Scott received a match penalty for the hit and a fighting major after Adam McQuaid went after Scott for the illegal hit.
The Bruins went on the power play because of the hit and got their revenge on the scoreboard as Krug scored for the second time on the night.
After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien explained how Krug’s second goal was big for the team even though it was only an add on goal. “We needed to score on that and we did. That was a big goal for us. We kept playing our game right to the end. We’ve got some important things here going on, so we have to focus on that and we had to finish the job here tonight.”
The Bruins 5-2 win also marked the first time this year they won a game with someone other than Tuukka Rask in net. Chad Johnson made his first start of the year and looked pretty good. He’d probably like to have the second goal he let up back but other than that he saved the shots he needed to. The Sabres only had sixteen shots for the game and before the team will have to see Johnson in more high pressure situations before they know if Johnson can be a solid backup to Rask.
Boston will have a quick turnaround as they take on the San Jose Sharks (8-0-1) Thursday night at 7pm at the TD Garden in Boston. Tuukka Rask will be back in net for the team, but in all likelihood, Eriksson will not be in the lineup after the illegal hit that took him out of the Buffalo game.