The Boston Bruins gave the Buffalo Sabres all they could handle but the Sabres rebounded from a terrible second period to hold on for the 2-1 win and more importantly, a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Thomas Vanek and Craig Rivet were the only Sabres to beat Tuukka Rask and Mark Recchi scored the lone Bruins goal.
Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek were flying all over the ice in the first period and their effort was rewarded after a nifty pass from Roy set Vanek up for a howitzer that beat Rask over the glove.
With the score 1-0 the physical play picked up and boiled over near the 15 minute mark of the period. Zdeno Chara laid a big hit to the back of Patrick Kaleta and minor scuffle ensued with Milan Lucic playing the role of aggressor. Lucic swung and connected twice to the cheek of Toni Lydman before eventually jumping on top him. Chara and Lucic were both given four minutes for their role in the scuffle while Steve Montador, Raffi Torres and Lydman all received two minutes. Patrick Kaleta was also given a 10 minute misconduct for his role as agitator.
The Sabres had a chance to gain the momentum on the power play but the Bruins penalty kill frustrated the Sabres and didn't allow them any chances. Buffalo had another power play opportunity at the end of the first that carried into the second but the Brins killed it and the momentum swung in their favor.
The Bruins carried that momentum and pinned the Sabres in their zone for long stretches in the first half of the period. The Sabres eventually took a penalty and Mark Rechhi found the back of the net to tie the game 1-1 with the man advantage.
Despite being outplayed badly for most of the period, the Sabres took advantage of a chance and Craig Rivet beat Rask with Patrick Kaleta parked in front of him. Tim Kennedy set up the Rivet goal with a heads up play, stopping just inside the blue line and feeding the pass to Rivet who was streaking up the wing.
The Sabres rebounded from an awful second period with smart play in the third period that forced the Bruis to take a couple of minor penalties. The Sabres were unable to convert any of the power play opportunities but they gained momentum and hung on for a well deserved 2-1 victory.
- This was exactly the type of game we all expected. A 2-1 game with Ryan Miller making 38 saves and Rask making 30 saves. This is truly going to be a goaltenders series and I'll take Miller over Rask every night...and afternoon.
- Tim Kennedy looked like a rookie plenty of times tonight but in the end it was his play to hold up in the Bruins zone that led to the game winner. That should be a huge confidence boost for the youngster.
- Toni Lydman continues to be the most unheralded player on the team. He and Montador led all Sabres in even strength ice time and they were outstanding defensively for the Sabres.
- Who said the Sabres aren't a physical team? The Sabres had 41 hits in the game tonight with Mike Grier leading the way with seven hits. Grier showed why the Sabres acquired him with his play tonight. He was a physical force and what a play he made in the closing seconds to force Chara to hook him and seal the victory.
- I would love to hear an explanation as to why Zdeno Chara was allowed to leave the box and play over a minute on the ice while he was supposed to be serving the second of his two minor penalties in the first period.
- Sabres lead the series 1-0...lets go for 2-0 on Saturday.