Bruins come out flat and pay for it

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Bruins come out flat and pay for it

GOLD STAR: Rasmus Ristolainen was pretty outstanding for the Sabres throughout the game, and really earned that empty net goal he got from long distance at the very end of the game. Ristolainen finished with a game-high 27:03 of ice time, threw five hits, blocked three shots and had four shot attempts to go along with his plus-2 rating. Credit Ristolainen along with many other Sabres players with adopting a hard-nosed, high work ethic game that it didn’t seem like the Bruins were ready to match on Saturday night. He was tough around the net, did a lot of the gritty grunt work required to win a hockey game and was one of the unquestioned on-ice leaders for a Sabres team that really had nothing to play once they took the ice. But they played hard anyway.

BLACK EYE: There were a lot of ineffective-to-pretty bad players for the Bruins on Saturday night, and David Pastrnak definitely ranks on the low end of that scale. It was Pastrnak that fanned on a pass attempt near the offensive blue line that turned into a quick breakaway chance for Evander Kane in the second period. That sloppy play got the Bruins down by a goal and started the downward slide that continued for the rest of the game. Overall Pastrnak had just a single shot on net with three giveaways in his 18:17 of ice time, and finished a bad minus-2 on the evening. The B’s top line finished with just two shots on net, a minus-6 and had probably their worst game since being put together as a trio. Those kinds of games are bound to happen, but Pastrnak stood out as probably the worst of the three forwards on the whole for the game.

TURNING POINT: After a “meh” first period against Buffalo, the Bruins sank even lower in the second period while getting outshot by a 13-10 margin. A couple of really poor plays at both of their blue lines opened things up for the Sabres, and compounded some mistakes that the Bruins made with their puck management. Just like that the Bruins were trailing by a 3-1 margin as the period ended, and the real kicker was an Adam McQuaid turnover by the side boards that turned into a 3-on-1 odd-man rush and a Benoit Pouliot goal against his former Bruins team. That goal happened in the last two minutes of the second period, and really took all the air out of the Black and Gold’s balloon after they’d closed things to a one-goal before prior to that. That was essentially all she wrote.

HONORABLE MENTION: Evander Kane can certainly be effective when he wants to be, and he was very effective for the Sabres on Saturday night. It was Kane that was freed for a breakaway goal in the opening few minutes of the second period after a David Pastrnak turnover, and he easily finished against Tuukka Rask to get the ball rolling for Buffalo. Kane finished with seven shot attempts, four hits and plenty of energy in 21:56 of ice time, and really stepped up to be “the guy” for the Sabres once Jack Eichel went down with his injury in the first period. There were plenty of other Buffalo players that deserved credit for bringing it on Saturday against Buffalo, but Kane was most definitely up toward the top of the list. This will be the type of game that goes to the top of the list for scouting reports when teams are talking about possibly taking a chance on Kane at the deadline.

BY THE NUMBERS: 19-0-2 – the final number for Tuukka Rask’s point streak is 21 games as he was the losing goaltender vs. Buffalo after allowing three goals on 27 shots, in a game that was definitely not Rask’s fault at all.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It seemed like we were backfiring on everything we were throwing into the engine tonight.” –David Backes, on a night where the Bruins clearly just didn’t have it in a 4-2 loss to the Sabres.


Eriksson, Nilsson lead Canucks past Bruins, 6-1

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Eriksson, Nilsson lead Canucks past Bruins, 6-1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Loui Eriksson scored his second goal of the night late in the third period and Anders Nilsson stopped 44 shots to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

Daniel Sedin, Sven Baertschi, Nic Dowd and Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver, which scored four goals in the first to take control. It gave the Canucks just their second win in eight games.

Vancouver was outshot 45-23 but got some timely saves from Nilsson, who registered his first win in 11 appearances dating back to Nov. 30.

Tim Schaller scored in the third period for the Bruins, who lost in regulation for just the third time in 27 games. Tuukka Rask started and gave up four goals on eight shots in the first period. Anton Khudobin came on to start the second and finished with 13 saves.

Nilsson, who started because Jacob Markstrom was sick, made a couple of big saves early, including getting a pad on Danton Heinen's shot off a rebound during a first-period Boston power play. In the third, he robbed Schaller and Sean Kuraly on back-to-back plays.

Nilsson also got a little lucky as the Bruins hit three posts in the first 20 minutes.

The Canucks were outshot 18-9 in the first period but led 4-0.

Eriksson opened the scoring two minutes into the game. Rask gave up a big rebound off Alex Edler's shot, and Sedin took a swipe at the puck before it rolled to Eriksson, who whacked it into the net.

The Canucks went ahead 2-0 at 10:54 on a pretty play from Thomas Vanek. He skated down the middle the ice then feathered a pass through the legs of Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo to Sedin, who was alone at the side of the net.

Horvat made it 3-0 just 56 seconds later as he took a pass from Troy Stecher, skated around defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and put a shot over Rask's glove. Nilsson earned an assist on the goal.

The Canucks made it 4-0 on a strange play. Rask stopped a shot from Baertschi and Boston's Noel Acciari tried to clear the rebound, but the puck hit Kuraly's stick and went into the net.

Dowd scored the only goal of the second period to make it 5-0. Jake Virtanen cut across the front of the net and took a shot that Khudobin stopped but Dowd put in the rebound for his second at 2:44.

NOTES: Canucks D Ben Hutton was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game and the ninth time in the last 25. ... Baertschi returned to the Canucks' lineup after sitting out Vancouver's 4-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday. ... Louie DeBrusk, the father of Boston rookie forward Jake DeBrusk, worked between the benches as a color analyst for the first time in a game his son played.


Morning Skate: Yes, Kessel values Cups more than scoring titles

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Morning Skate: Yes, Kessel values Cups more than scoring titles

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while shaking my head at the disparity in talent levels between Ilya Kovalchuk and anybody on Team offense to the guys we sent over there.

*Phil Kessel said he values winning Stanley Cups over scoring titles, but does he value them more than hot dogs from his favorite food stand in Toronto? That is the question.

*Here’s a fine tribute from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Steve Conroy about his late partner at the Boston Herald, columnist/hockey writer Steve Harris, who sadly passed away a couple of days ago while still manning the beat until the past week or so. It’s still such a shocking loss for everybody in the local hockey community, and this piece does a good job of capturing his spirit.

*So, controversial Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is going to now also be the CEO of the team as well? Yikes.

*Damien Cox takes a look at the Canadian NHL teams that look like they’re going to fall short of the playoffs and what they need to do to right their respective ships.

*The Nashville Predators explain how they are “all in” at the NHL trade deadline with another clear shot at a Cup run.

*For something completely different: A ranking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies from worst to best that suffers from recent-itis where a number of movies just released are probably given way, way too much deference even though they are good superhero flicks.