Bruins

BruinsSabres: 5 from the Third

BruinsSabres: 5 from the Third

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins and Sabres tied at a 3-3 score after the first 60 minutes of their final regular season meeting of the year and headed for overtime.1)Really active day for Zdeno Chara amid all of the pressure and speculation. Two assists, two shots on net, two hits, two blocked shots and plenty of physical play that flies in the face of all the overreacting yahoos in the city of Montreal.2)Between the boarding call on Zdeno Chara in the second period, the tripping call on Tomas Kaberle that led to a goal in the second and the tripping call that led to a 5-on-3 goal for Tim Connolly in the third period, the refs had a dogs breakfast of a game in Boston while handing the Buffalo Sabres seven power plays. Tough to discern what the message is there, but the physicality certainly wasnt that one-sided. Ian Walsh and Brad Watson having a tough time out there.3)Where has Tomas Kaberle been over the last few games? He looked smooth and offensively creative in his first few games, but there hasnt been much hint of that 5-on-5 or on the power play lately. No points in his last six games with the Bruins, and one assist in nine games with Boston and only one power play goal.4)Only one takeaway for the Bruins against a Buffalo Sabres team thats been known to be loose with the puck on occasion among a young defensemen corps. That means there wasnt a great deal of fore-checking force going on tonight with the Bruins.5)Adam McQuaid has become so adept at pinching and keeping possession in Bostons offensive zone in such a short time. Its been amazing to watch for a player that so little was expected of offensively.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.