If there was an honor for being the luckiest team in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres might be the front runners for that award.
Multiple times this season Buffalo has been bailed out of their awful decisions, and has found itself in contention for a victory even though it was playing awful hockey.
On Friday, it happened again.
Despite an overly poor outing in the second period, and other smatterings of bad play, the Sabres were able to come back and defeat Boston 4-2 for their second win over the Bruins this season. In fact, Buffalo is the only team to defeat Boston in regulation this season, and they’ve done it twice.
At times, the Sabres looked as if they were a team that didn’t even belong on the same ice as the Bruins, let alone any other NHL team. Thankfully, for them, Ryan Miller came up with a few big saves, and Boston was unable to capitalize on point blank scoring opportunities which allowed Buffalo to hang around longer than what many believe they should have.
The Sabres used that to their advantage, and after finding themselves down 2-1 entering the third period, they came out firing on all cylinders in the third, scoring three goals – Boston had three shots in the third –, to tie the game, get ahead, and pull away.
The question post game was simple, just what was said during the second intermission to get the team fired up like that.
“Nothing different, honestly,” said Drew Stafford, who scored his first goal of the season in the first period. “We’ve been saying the same things; it’s just a matter of going out and doing it. It’s one thing if you’re saying the right things, (but) you got to go out there and do it.
“We needed a big comeback; a big statement win, and we were able to get it done.”
Stafford’s big night, he added an assist on Christian Ehrhoff’s game-winning goal, wasn’t the only much-needed good performance from a member of the Sabres.
Tyler Myers, whose play had been below mediocre as of late that he had become a healthy scratch, finally seemed to break through with arguably his best game of the season.
Myers tied the game 2:03 into the third period and assisted on Cody Hodgson’s goal later on to help the Sabres earn the victory. It was a performance that Myers felt was long overdue.
“It felt good,” Myers said. “The most important thing is that I continue (this play), and not let this be a one game thing.”
Myers felt that the third period that Buffalo played on Friday night was the best period they’ve played all season due to the way the team fought to tie and take the lead, and then, once they had the lead, kept their feet on the gas pedal to make sure they kept it.
Ryan Miller, who finished with 30 saves on the night, said that the team’s ability to keep the game a one goal contest during a lackluster second period really built momentum heading into the third. Keeping it close despite the poor play, Miller says, was a big key to pulling out the victory.
“Just stay in the game, I mean, that’s what you have to do in this league,” said Miller. “I was really impressed; guys played a great third period. They really stepped up and did a nice job.”
Now the big issue becomes whether or not the Sabres can start to find a rhythm one the ice that will lead to a string of victories to pull them out of the Eastern Conference cellar. They host Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon which will surely be a game to test whether or not this team found a spark to boost their play for the remainder of the season, or if Friday was just a one night stand.
Bruins 19-year old rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored his first career NHL goal on a Boston power play in the first period to tie the game at one. He finished the night with a goal and an assist to up his point total to six in 12 games.
Friday marked the first time since 3/23/2012 that Buffalo won a game without getting a point from either Thomas Vanek or Jason Pominville
Ryan Miller has stopped 107 of 113 shots in the last three games. That’s a save % of .947
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