The Buffalo Sabres were playing their 3rd game in four nights, and it was their 11th in eighteen days – and it showed as they had nothing for the Boston Bruins on Sunday night.
Tyler Ennis scored late in the second to give the Sabres a 1-all tie in the period, but it went downhill from there as a tired Buffalo defense allowed the Bruins to use Sabres goalie Ryan Miller for target practice, winning 3-1.
“They didn’t play the other day, and I think we started showing our fatigue around the mid-point,” said Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, a fact not lost on Boston’s well rested players.
“Yesterday, we were ready to play, so I guess it gave us a day to rest,” said Bruins’ center Patrick Bergeron. “We got here, and we knew Buffalo played last night, so we tried to take advantage of that.”
Brad Marchand intercepted a floating clearing pass and scored the first goal of the match at 7:10 of the second period, a one timer from the left circle for a 1-0 Bruins lead. Ennis tied it 11 minutes later and the teams went into the second intermission tied at 1-1.
In the third, Center Patrick Bergeron scored on a wrister from the left circle after the puck had taken a weird bounce on the end boards, and he snapped it home for the power play game winner. Milan Lucic added a freebie with less than a minute left for the final 3-1 tally, helping the Bruins improve to 8-1-1.
The Bruins earned their 17th point, the most they’ve had through 10 games. The previous best was 16 points over that span, set four times – the last in 1978-79, when Boston opened 7-1-2.
Bruins backup goalie Anton Khudobin made 25 saves in only his second start of the season.
The Sabres travel to Ottawa for a faceoff with the Senators on Tuesday, then get a couple of days off before doing the whole thing over again with the Bruins on Friday night, while the Bruins return home to host the Rangers before heading back to Buffalo.
Sabres’ fans have to be scratching their heads over this team. They went to Boston two weeks ago and blasted the Bruins right out of their own building, a game that fans and experts alike thought was the start of something beautiful for the Sabres – they were tougher, which was going to translate to more wins…but they are just 2-4-1 since, giving up a league high 46 goals for the season.
Apparently bringing in more toughness can’t fix everything – and the condensed schedule affords little time to fix what ails a team. It takes a mentally tough team to plow through what the Sabres are encountering, and we’re about to find out if Buffalo is as tough in the head as they are on the ice.