Holy shit, what a friggin’ game.
In a bit of historic irony, this gritty, ballsy, never-say-die but nearly left for dead collection of heart and effort picked itself up off the mat yet again against the NHL’s king of the crease to score a fifth period knockout, when former Sabre Miroslav Satan waited out one-time teammate Ryan Miller and calmly slid a backhander past him for the double OT power-play game-winner that gave the Bs a hungry python-like 3-1 grip on the series lead.
Playing in a building that still has light years to go before it even approaches the history of its predecessor, the Sabres and Bruins added immensely to its future legacy by putting on an epic, blow-for-blow performance, particularly by the goalies, that will be talked about long after said building is replaced by the Tuukka Rask Arena. Because if he keeps this shit up, they will be naming the next incarnation of the Garden after him (and he may even inspire another weird Vincent Gallo movie).
After spotting the Sabres a 2-0 lead yet again, the Bs headed into the third frame with the swords right where they wanted them. Dangerous David Krejci kicked off the comeback and played the role of Vincent Vega to the crowd’s Mia Wallace when his first of the playoffs, a power play tally off of a shitty goaltender interference call, cut the deficit in half just over two minutes into the third. Four-and-a-half minutes later, Patty Bergeron slid the puck by Miller after a heads-up pass from Dan Paille on a seemingly innocuous play (ah, but there are no innocuous plays come playoff time) and the joint erupted.
The teams traded chances until the end of the third, with the highlight being Tuukka’s Tim Thomas imitation to absolutely rob former BU Terrier Mike Grier and preserve the tie. In what was an evenly-matched, fantastic display of netminding with two of the league’s best, regulation time wouldn’t be nearly enough to produce a winner. After having the exact number of shots on goal as Buffalo in each of the first three periods, the Bs outshot Buffalo 10-8 in the first OT but Miller kept pulling crazy stops out of his ass which is kind of his M.O. There was no question he was in the zone, he looked unbeatable, and Bruins fans were sweating like O.J. at a NOW rally.
And then, too-many-men-on-the-ice, the Bruins’ version of Aaron Fucking Boone, reared its head once again in a Bruins playoff game. But this time, the Black and Gold were the beneficiaries of the bench brainfart. On their last rush of the power play, a revitalized Mike Ryder found—hmm, now who could it be?—Satan coming down the slot. He froze Miller as if he played some fucking Jedi mind trick on him, ended one of the truly great playoff games in Bruins history, and turned Causeway Street into a madhouse. After 30 straight wins when leading after two, Buffalo has lost its last two when leading after two.
But before everybody starts milking each other’s johnson here, let us remember that the Bs have merely a 3-1 lead and ain’t won shit yet. A bounce here or there and this series is tied. And continually spotting Miller a lead and rope-a-doping for two periods will eventually catch up with them. They can be sure that they’re going to get every punch Buffalo can throw Friday night in The Other Mistake By The Lake.
Still, the Bs are in a position to end this in the fifth game of the series and not too many people foresaw that. Except the guys who took ‘Bruins to win series 4-1’ at 8 to 1.
A few more postseason buds for your Thirsty Thursday bowl…
*Miller’s first OT save on Satan psyched even the Garden horn-blower, who hit the button for about a second before realizing that Miller snagged it. He had at least three other game-savers in OT, not to mention several big stops in regulation.
*And to think, the Bruins are doing this all without Raffi Torres! You remember, he was the guy who delusional Bruins fans clamored for like madmen in the days leading up to, and after, the trade deadline. “Buffalo got Torres and the Bruins didn’t want to part with anything, blah, blah, blah” they cried, as if it were Mark Texeira all over again. Again, he’s a gritty character guy that all rosters need. But the zero goals, five assists, two penalty minutes, and -3 in 14 regular season games for Buffalo probably weren’t worth a 2nd rounder and a live body, particularly when you consider he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer (he has two assists this series).
*Tough break for Patty Bergeron not getting nominated for the Selke Trophy (top defensive forward). The writers went with Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, and Jordan Staal. Seems to me like it should be an award that’s voted on by those who can best judge how good a guy’s defensive play is—his peers—rather than guys who only get to see some players on a sporadic level. Bergeron was a beast this year, especially after Marc Savard got mugged. Hard to believe those three were all better than him.
*Speaking of Savvy, if the Bs move on, it’s a good bet he’ll make a return to the line-up, which would provide an incredible jolt to the team. But it’s not as simple as him just getting his wind back. He needs to get in shape and be free of any concussion-related issues. Though it looks promising, it’s not a slam dunk.
*The refereeing in this series (going both ways, Buffalo fans), as well as others, has been as bad as it was all season. And it was pretty ugly this year. Not a good sign. Even worse when you consider quality refs like Kerry Fraser are hanging them up after this season. The biggest problem to these eyes? The overall inconsistency.
*Non-Bruins Blog Item of the Week. Prior to Tuesday’s Sox game at Fenway and last night’s game at the Garden, each venue held a moment of silence for Bob DeCristoforo, or Bobby D as he was universally known, who passed away last weekend while on vacation in Cancun. Bob was an usher at Fenway for 40 years and one on Causeway Street for around 10 so it was a classy and touching tribute by his late employers to remember a great guy. But Bobby D was so, so much more than an usher—he was a Boston icon. To thousands of kids for the last few decades from all corners of this city he loved with gusto, he was a coach, a teacher, an advocate, a kind word, a caring thought, and above all else, Bobby D was our friend, our pal. During good and bad, Bob was always there. But, as he liked to write in his Beat, he’s been called home by God. And this city will never quite be the same without him. Rest in peace, my friend. You are greatly missed.
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