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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Any Type of Loss to the Sabres is Pathetic, No Excuses

1-12-5. That was Jhonas Enroth's (29 saves) absurdly poor record coming into tonight's matchup with the Bruins at First Niagara Center. To make it a little more fair, Boston (37-16-5) started Chad Johnson instead of Tuukka Rask who is still recovering from Sochi. Of course, that backfired as Buffalo (17-34-8) won 5-4 in overtime thanks to Loui Eriksson's turnover and Matt D'Agostini's speed to get by a very slow Zdeno Chara (both those guys had also returned from the Olympics).

You can't say that the B's really deserved this though, even against the worst team in the NHL. The Sabres scored first on a power play goal by my man Zemgus Girgensons (best name in the NHL nominee) and built a 3-1 lead before Boston began to play like the far superior team that they are. Milan Lucic's power play goal at 9:43 of the third period, his 18th of the season from Torey Krug and Jarome Iginla, handed them their only lead at 4-3.

Buffalo tied it with 52 seconds left in regulation as Matt Moulson, coming soon to another team near you, beat Johnson with an extra attacker on for the Sabres. At least D'Agostini got it over with quickly-22 seconds into the extra session-no need to spend more time than you have to in Buffalo.

Chris Kelly scored Boston's first goal post-Sochi just like we all predicted, at 10:47 of the first period from Carl Soderberg (sweet no-look backhand sauce) and Matt Bartkowski. It was Kelly's fifth goal of the season.

The refs obviously felt bad for the Sabres as they let Tyler Myers slash and punch Brad Marchand but only Boston's pesky winger received a penalty. Wouldn't you know that Myers scored on the ensuing Buffalo power play, it was that kind of shitty night. Lynnfield native Brian Flynn made it 3-1 Buffalo on a fluttering puck midway through the second and I half expected Niklas Svedberg to make his second appearance of the season.

Chara cut it to 3-2 at 11:01 of the second with his 14th goal of the season (9th on the power play) from Lucic and Krug. Marchand got some revenge on Buffalo when he tied it at three thanks to a sloppy turnover by John Scott (who they have playing defense, seriously) and pass by Reilly Smith. He leads the Bruins with 20 goals on the season, not too shabby.

Boston will have a couple days to stew over this uneven performance before they host Washington (27-23-9) on Saturday (1, NESN) at TD Garden. It promises to be a busy weekend for the B's since they travel to New York to face the Rangers on Sunday night as well, don't they know that The Oscars are on at the same time?

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