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Sunday, February 10, 2013

That's More Like It: Bruins Beat Sabres 3-1

After getting pushed around by Buffalo and losing 7-4 at the Garden on January 31 (their only regulation loss this season), Boston (8-1-1) was much better prepared tonight at the First Niagara Center to play their game. The end result was a nice 3-1 road win against the Sabres (5-7-1). Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (25 saves; 2-0-0) picked up his second win in his second start (both on the road).

Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton all returned after missing multiple games, the latter two guys had been out since that initial beating by Buffalo. Their impact was immediate since the B's lines were more balanced again and the AHL All-Stars (Jamie Tardif, Lane MacDermid and Ryan Spooner) were all scratched or back in Providence where they belong. This time around, Thornton wasn't sacrificed to John Scott but Gregory Campbell took on scummy Patrick Kaleta in the first period.

Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller (36 saves) was superb all night but Marchand was able to solve him at 7:10 of the second period with a hard snap shot to the far post. Andrew Ference had the lone assist on Marchand's team-leading sixth goal of the season. Tyler Ennis got Buffalo's only goal on a wrister at 18:01 of the second period after another failed Bruins power play-a constant theme for the B's the past few years. Drew Stafford passed it to Ennis on the doorstep as Boston's defensemen were caught napping a bit.

The Bruins' god awful power play finally potted its first goal in five games and it turned out to be the game-winner. Patrice Bergeron (2nd of the season) made it 2-1 on a snap shot at 7:52 in the third period from Chris Bourque and Rich Peverley. Khudobin and Boston's defense was rock solid from that point on and Milan Lucic (3rd of the season) sent Buffalo fans streaming for the exits with his empty-netter at 19:11.

Boston hosts the Rangers (6-5-0) on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., NESN) as the Black and Gold continue to lead the Eastern Conference and Northeast Division. New York hasn't been a disaster ala Washington but they certainly haven't found any consistency yet this season. The Bruins would like to keep it that way with Tuukka Rask likely back in net. Boston beat New York 3-1 on Opening Night (Jan. 19) then lost 4-3 in overtime at MSG four nights later.

UPDATE 2/11: Tardif, MacDermid and Aaron Johnson were all sent down to Providence.

That Bruins-Lightning game has been rescheduled to Thursday, April 25 at TD Garden.

UPDATE 2/12: TSN's Bob McKenzie (the best NHL reporter in the universe) reports that the B's have signed Burlington native and BU product Jay Pandolofo to a one-year deal worth $600,000 in the NHL and $350,000 in the minors. He was placed on waivers and must clear for the deal to go through. This was expected after the B's traded Tim Thomas, thus freeing up a roster spot. Don't expect anything from the 38-year-old Pandolfo who has been with the team on an extended tryout (weird?) since the beginning of training camp.

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