BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's too bad that hockey games are 60 minutes because the Bruins played a solid 40 minutes in Game One of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Sabres Thursday night at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Unfortunately for Boston, it was Buffalo that skated away with a 2-1 victory.
Game Two of this series will be played here at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The Bruins lagged in the first, but found their game in the second and third periods and did exactly what they need to do in order to be successful in this series by getting shots and traffic in front of Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.
Buffalo took it to Boston in the first period and gained a 1-0 lead on Thomas Vanek’s goal at 4:52. Buffalo won all the physical battles and Boston created only one quality scoring chance on nine shots. The Sabres had 12 shots in the first 20 minutes.
Interestingly, an all-out scrum toward the end of the first period resulted in a slew of penalties for both teams. Bruins’ Zdeno Chara was handed a two-minute penalty for crosschecking and two minutes for roughing after the scrum, but he was let out of the box two minutes too soon and played a shift before officials realized he should have been in the box.
Don’t know what would have happened if he scored.
Even though the Bruins dominated the second period, it was the Sabres who gained a 2-1 lead.
After a lifeless first period, Boston woke up in the second. The Bruins got traffic in front of Miller and produced a ton of shots, recording 24 in the second period. They were shooting for tips and rebounds and that’s how the Bruins scored their first goal while on the power play at 9:30.
Boston’s power play, which was anemic down the stretch of the regular season, capitalized on its first opportunity against the Sabres. The Bruins created crisp, clean puck movement that set up Chara’s one-time blast from the point. Miller gave up a rebound and the Bruins’ Mark Recchi bounced on it in the slot and drove it home to tie the game at 1-1.