Talking Points: Rask dazzles with 35-save performance in B's 2-1 win
Tuukka Rask put together a season-high 35 saves, and was at his best in the second period making 15 saves when the Bruins’ game cratered for the middle 20 minutes. Rask didn’t have to make a ton of high-wire, acrobatic saves, but he had to battle through getting knocked upside the head by an errant Adam McQuaid while having zero margin for error thanks to the Bruins offense. His best stops were a screaming wrist shot off the rush from Brenden Gruhle followed by a Kyle Okposo chance directly in front of him. He was up to that challenge, so the only pucks that got by him were Evander Kane’s bang-bang goal and a puck that Brian Gionta kicked into the net in the second period. Other than that Rask was once again dominant.
Wasn’t Zemgus Girgensons an All-Star a couple of years ago? He’s fallen off the map for the Sabres apparently. He finished with 8:39 of ice time with zero shots on net and a single hit while only getting 11 shifts presumably as a fourth line player. He’s been disappointing all year with one goal and a couple of points as a minus player, and really hasn’t lived up to the first round draft pick billing, or the hype as the Great Latvian Hockey hope. I guess Latvia will have to pin their hopes on the next young player coming out of that country.
The Bruins seemed to lose a little of their oomph as things were going on, but they came out of the gate strong while doubling up Buffalo 25-13 in shot attempts in the first period while building a one goal lead. The Bruins dominated puck possession and really took it to the Sabres with good chances, long shifts and a penalty kill that gave the Bruins all the momentum they would need for the period. About the only complaint was that the B’s couldn’t build another goal or two into their first period lead, but it was enough for them to eventually ride to victory after collecting Patrice Bergeron’s insurance score in the third.
Kevan Miller played arguably his best game since coming back from injury. Miller played with some snarl while racking up 22:48 of ice time, finished with four blocked shots, two hits and five shot attempts while playing strong, consistent hockey at both ends of the ice. Miller also finished with a plus-1 rating and nearly got into a heated brawl with Evander Kane at the end of the game after the Buffalo forward drilled him high behind the Boston net. Miller finished out regulation without reacting, and then wanted a piece of Kane once the final buzzer sounded. That would have been a hockey fight worth the price of admission.
By the Numbers:
18 -- the number of games out of their 25 games thus far this season that the Bruins have scored two goals or less. No offense, but they need some offense.
Quote to Note:
“Do your job! Do your job!” -- Brad Marchand, who also added some colorful words on top of it all to one of the linesmen in the third period prior to a face-off after a heated exchange between the B’s agitator and Buffalo D-man Rasmus Ristolainen. It was all caught by the NESN cameras and any red-faced lip readers out there.