“[We] were doing a great job and competing hard, competing well, but the finish just wasn’t there,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien told NESN after the game. “That’s kind of what got us into trouble and got us down two goals, so…at some point, you want to see reward at the end of your hard work, and that’s scoring goals, and we found a way to do that in the third.”
The first 40 minutes were marred by penalties, missed chances, and a Sabres goal within the last minute of each period, but the B’s came out of the locker room ready to go for the last 20 minutes of play.
“We had some chances, and Miller made some nice saves too,” said center Glen Metropolit. “He’s a good goalie back there, and we know that, but we’ve been talking about bearing down, scoring on our opportunities, and [in the] third period, I think we did that.”
Under a minute into the period, captain Zdeno Chara
got the puck past Sabres goalie Ryan Miller to put the B’s on the scoreboard, and left-winger Marco Sturm scored late in the period to send the game into overtime.
Boston also kept the Sabres at bay, allowing only one shot in the final period, compared to their 17.
“I was too busy watching [to notice the lack of shots],” said goalie Alex Auld, who played his first game since a 8-2 loss against the Montreal Canadiens. “It was an impressive display.”
Phil Kessel helped the Black & Gold emerge victorious, scoring the only goal of the shootout. Auld assisted with three saves on Buffalo shots.
“Obviously, it’s a great way to win,” said Auld. “The biggest thing is just trying to be patient and hold on.
“I just tried to hold my ground, and we were able to get the win.”
It was also the first day back for right-winger Glen Murray, who has been sidelined with a hip flexor injury.
“I’ve seen how hard this guy’s worked to get back into shape,” said Coach Julien, “and it’s almost like [he] didn’t miss a beat.”
Murray didn’t manage to score, but he did have four shots during his 17 minutes of play.
“That’s the kind of thing we need at this time of the year, is for your veterans to do that kind of stuff and come in there and play a big role in a win, and that’s what Muzz did for us tonight,” Julien added.
“I’m just looking forward to keeping on playing,” Murray said after the game. “It’s fun to get out there and help contribute and just be around the guys, getting wins and playing the games.”
Coming out of the game with two points and some confidence was key for the team as the playoff race stays heated.
“We knew how important this game was, such huge points, and it’s going to be like that the rest of the way,” said Auld. “I think that coming back like this on a team that was on a bit of a roll is obviously great for our confidence.”
“We’re in the right position, and it’s up to us to keep it and maintain it and try to move us, and that’s what we’re trying to do, win hockey games and hopefully that’ll allow us to move up,” added Coach Julien. “I really feel that this team is capable of playing against every team and doing a good job and winning enough hockey games to get us in the playoffs.”
The team knows that it’s all up to them to stay in the race.
“It’s up to the guys in the dressing room, we know that,” said Metropolit. “We’re worried about the teams ahead of us, and we’re trying to catch them.
“If we play a solid game like we did tonight, we’ll win most of the games.”
The Bruins look to defend their 7th place ranking when they play again Saturday night at home against the Florida Panthers.