After days of hype and anticipation, the Bruins and newly modified Sabres didn’t provide the “Raging Bull”-like blood spurts that many were expecting or hoping for. Instead, it was a game of shinny that featured just one bout, numerous breakdowns by an uncharacteristically shitty Bruins D, a blown two-goal lead, and a blown goal lead in the third. Buffalo took full of advantage of the Bs’ sloppy play by scoring the last four goals of the game in the third—a period that had been one of Bruins’ biggest strengths so far this year—to post a 7-4 pasting and hand Boston its first regulation loss of the year.
Thomas Vanek continued to just utterly own the Bruins by putting up a 3-2–5 line and a +4. He and linemates Cory Hodgson and Jason Pominville combined for 5-6–11 with a +8 to make Zdeno Chara’s night miserable. Z ended up a -3, was whistled for holding, and had a team-high three giveaways. It was a rare bad game by Z but given his CV in Boston, he gets a mulligan because there’s no danger of it becoming a habit. Shit happens.
The Bs got banged up physically a bit as well as Dan Paille, Patrice Bergeron, and Dougie Hamilton all took turns getting looked at during game action. So not a good night all around. The team would be best served to just forget this one and get prepped for tomorrow’s tilt in Toronto. Every season has performances like this, sometimes a couple. Well the Bs got their first and hopefully last real true stinker outta the way last night after their impressive start. They looked like a team that was playing its third game in four nights and their goalie had to bear the brunt of it. And against a team that’s been given them fits for, oh, almost 20 years now. Some Bruins that did speak to the media did so in a subdued, almost angry tone—not angry at the media but at the drubbing they just took. That’s the sign of team that expects better of itself and good to see if you’re a fan. But the sourness will be all forgotten if they leave Lake Ontario with two points tomorrow night.
In the lone scrap, heart-and-soul tough guy Shawn Thornton took on the enormous John Scott (giving away about half a foot and 50 lbs.), one of two guys that the Sabres brought in over the summer to add toughness (Steve “the Pirate” Ott being the other). It was a rare occasion in that Thornton was on the bad end of a one-sided beating. From up on high, I mistakenly thought he only caught a few off his helmeted head before heading to the box and was no worse for wear. After leaving the box, he headed across the ice then down the tunnel toward the locker room to get looked at never to return. Upon further review later, 22 caught a quick upper cut and another shot to the dome that dazed him pretty good. The Bs will have some further info at today’s practice. On a small positive note, the fan favorite was seen signing a few autographs after the game, not a typical post-game practice for seriously injured players. Here’s hoping Shawn’s alright. He a great teammate and great guy.
Scott expressed concern for his opponent when he didn’t return to the game. “I was asking the trainers how he’s doing,” he said. “You never want to hurt somebody. I was kind of concerned after the first period, we never saw him again. Hopefully he’s doing well, you hate to see someone leave the game like that. He will bounce back, he’s a tough guy and he’ll probably fight me again….and probably do a lot better next time.”