Things get ugly in 5-2 Bruins win over Sabres
We should be talking about another road win for the Bruins, a 5-2 victory over the Sabres at First Niagara Center and a perfect road trip (3-0-0, outscoring opponents 13-4), but sadly, the focus from Wednesday’s game will be on Buffalo’s goon John Scott.
With the B’s up 4-2 in the third period, Scott blatantly elbowed Loui Eriksson in the neutral zone after the Swede had played the puck down the ice. Scott will get a lengthy suspension, but that’s not the point, why is he still in the NHL in the first place?
Backup goaltender Chad Johnson got his first start in Black and Gold and he wasn’t tested at all (14 saves) but that’s what happens when you play the worst team in the league (1-9-1). Milan Lucic had three points (2 goals, 1 assist), Torey Krug had two goals including a power-play goal while David Krejci, Jarome Iginla and Carl Soderberg each notched two assists as Boston (6-2-0) never trailed.
It appeared that Iginla broke his season-long goal drought in the first period but Lucic deflected his shot past Ryan Miller. Late in the first, Lucic took a puck to his face but he was back out there to start the second and was able to score his second of the game 40 seconds into the frame on a pretty give-and-go with Iginla. Cody Hodgson was credited with a power play goal off his skate but Dougie Hamilton scored his second goal in three games for a 3-1 Bruins lead. Johnson allowed a weak backhander to Nikita Zadorov to make it 3-2 after two periods.
The third period was all Krug. He scored his first goal by wrapping around the goal and holding off Drew Stafford when it was four-on-four. Less than five and a half minutes later, he added his second this time on a power play thanks to Scott’s needless cheap shot of Eriksson. The Bruins are back at TD Garden tomorrow night-their first back-to-back of the season and start of three games in four nights-to face the high-flying San Jose Sharks (8-0-1).
What they’ll be saying: We didn’t really learn much about Johnson who made only his 11th career NHL start. If all goes according to plan this season, his workload should be very manageable and similar to what he did last season in Phoenix behind Mike Smith. Tuukka Rask was one of only two goaltenders in the NHL to start every game entering tonight. The Bruins did a good job of managing their emotions after Scott’s incident, granted they’ve been there before. They’ll see Buffalo four more times this season so there was no reason to get into a war with a team that’s going nowhere and has nothing to lose. Plus, they had to save their energy for San Jose who haven’t lost in regulation and scored an NHL-best 40 goals ahead of Thursday’s early-season showdown. Matt Bartkowski and Jordan Caron were the healthy scratches for the second game in a row and it’s hard to argue with the results. We don’t have an update yet on Eriksson but since it took a few teammates to help him skate off the ice, I don’t think he’ll be in the lineup vs. San Jose. Boston improved to 4-0-0 on the road this season.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate