Seems we’ve seen this before.
If it is true that familiarity breeds contempt, then the Boston Bruins and their fans must really hate these Buffalo Sabres by now.
Going into the third trailing 2-1 and being booed off the ice at the end of the second by their hometown fans, the Sabres outshot Boston 10-3, scoring three unanswered goals to take another come from behind victory over the Bruins 4-2.
Just fifteen days ago, the Sabres trailed the Bruins early in the third period, a David Krejci goal giving the Bruins a 4-3 lead just 1:45 into the period before the wheels came off, Boston allowing 4 consecutive goals to Buffalo in a 7-4 loss.
On Friday night in Buffalo, the Sabres scored first on Drew Stafford’s one timer from a perfect pass from Tyler Ennis behind the net, beating backup goalie Anton Khudobin for a 1-0 lead.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton tied it at 1-1, scoring his first of the season on a power play goal with 2:04 left in the first period. Hamilton initially gave up a shot from the high point, passing to Tyler Seguin who in turn passed to Krejci who put the shot on goal but was blocked by Sabres’ net minder Ryan Miller, but Krejci got his own rebound on the right wing, passed on the shot to Hamilton who was still patrolling the high point and sent the puck into an open net behind Miller.
Not only was it Hamilton’s first of the season, but his first NHL goal ever, and as his teammates converged on Hamilton to offer their congratulations, Milan Lucic scooped up the puck to commemorate the event.
Rich Peverley scored with 2:29 gone in the second period, Hamilton had the helper with a carom off the boards, right to Perverly who buried it for a 2-1 Boston advantage.
That was the last time the Bruins would light the lamp.
Coming back onto the ice after being out shot 29-16 by the Bruins in a lethargic effort in the first two periods, the Sabres found the same sort of late energy that the discovered two weeks ago in Boston, Tyler Myers backhanded a rebound off a Jochen Hecht shot that beat Khudobin just minutes into the final frame.
Christian Ehrhoff fired a wrister from the slot over Khudobin, who anticipated a low shot and went down early for the eventual game winner 10:58 left in Regulation. Cody Hodgson added an insurance goal less than 3 minutes later when he tipped in a pass from Tyler Myers and the Bruins’ collapse was complete.
Despite the late offense, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was the hero of this contest, stoning multiple Bruins’ point blank shots to keep his team in the game early. Miller stopped 30 shots, many of them as he sprawled on the ice as his defense seemed to stand and watch while he was being pelted by the aggressive Bruins.
It was just the opposite for Khudobin, who stopped 15 of 16 in the first two periods before the Bruins’ defense fell apart in the 3rd, stopping only 7 of 10 as the Bruins dropped to 8-2-2 on the season. The Sabres snapped a 2 game losing streak and improved their record to 6-8-1.
Sunday finds the Pittsburgh Penguins invading the First Niagara Center, followed by the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday evening while the Bruins visit those same Jets in Winnipeg on Sunday evening, then take a few days off before traveling to Tampa to take on the Lightning on Thursday.
Sabres fans were hoping that the big win over Boston on January 31st would be the springboard to an even bigger season, but they have mostly failed to capitalize on the momentum from that win until tonight…
…if the Sabres could only play the Bruins all the time…