Bruins sluggish in loss to Sabres
After the Olympic break, Boston (37-16-5) returned to action Wednesday at First Niagara Center but suffered one of its more shocking losses of the season, a 5-4 defeat to Buffalo (17-34-8) in overtime on Matt D’Agostini’s game-winner 22 seconds into the extra session. The Bruins had the NHL’s worst team on the ropes but the Sabres tied it at four with 52.7 seconds left on Matt Moulson’s goal (with Jhonas Enorth pulled for an extra attacker).
This wasn’t the way the B’s had it drawn up, especially when Milan Lucic’s power-play goal made it 4-3 with 10:17 left in regulation. The Bruins had trailed all game but after they went down, 3-1, in the second period, they started to wakeup. Tuukka Rask didn’t make the trip to Buffalo to get some extra rest after Sochi and Chad Johnson (21 saves) played like the shaky backup he was from early in the season.
Zemgus Girgensons scored a power-play goal 3:32 into the contest after Lynnfield, Mass. native Brian Flynn forced a turnover from Torey Krug. Chris Kelly tied it midway through the first on a sweet backhand pass from Carl Soderberg. For once, Buffalo had some good luck as Tyler Myers wasn’t whistled for a penalty that he deserved and he ended up scoring a power-play goal to give his team a 2-1 lead in the second. Flynn tallied a goal less than three minutes later, a weak shot that Johnson surely would want back.
Zdeno Chara got the Bruins’ comeback started with a power-play goal of his own then Brad Marchand tied it at three late in the second after Reilly Smith stole the puck from John Scott. Boston has a few days to put this behind them as its next game is Saturday (1 p.m., NESN) at TD Garden vs. Washington (27-23-9).
What they’ll be saying: Johnson didn’t play well, but neither did many of Boston’s defensemen, just an ugly performance by them against a truly awful opponent. Speaking of the Sabres, there might not be much action at the trade deadline (next Wednesday) since almost every team is still somewhat in the playoff picture.
Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Moulson and Henrik Talinder are all potential trade targets, you just have to wonder how overpriced they’ll become.
Marchand is the first Bruin to reach 20 goals this season and this was the third time inhis career that he’s reached 20. His career-high is 28 in 2011-12, he might not reach that but he’ll definitely top 21 from 2010-11. He also has a good chance to lead Boston in goals during this campaign, which should count for something.
One of the obvious players that Boston could ship out of town in the next week – Chris Kelly – had a nice performance. He scored the first goal for the Bruins but could have added a few more, he was stopped by Enroth (29 saves) on a shorthanded breakaway.
Normally, four goals including two power-play goals should be more than enough for the Bruins to beat the Sabres. However, this loss left them 2-2 against Buffalo this season. Their final meeting is April 12 at TD Garden, I’m sure great seats are still available.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate