By John Bishop, BostonBruins.comBoston --
The Buffalo Sabres downed the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, 6-3. The Sabres Brian Campbell beat Boston goaltender Tim Thomas
with Buffalo's fourth goal, the game winner, from Daniel Briere and Jason Pominville at 10:05 of the third period. Boston rookie, Phil Kessel, scored two for the Bruins in the loss.
After defeating the Sabres in a goaltending driven shootout, 3-2, on Monday in Boston, the Bruins had looked to transplant that victorious momentum to Western New York and defeat Buffalo, the third best squad in the NHL, for the second time in just a week.
And for moments at a time in Tuesday's game, it looked as if that might just happen.
As such, it was a back and forth first period to start the contest in the packed HSBC Arena. Kessel scored his 6th of the year, unassisted and on the power play, at 12:29.
Buffalo struck back twice, when at 12:29 Sabres forward Thomas Vanek deposited his 24th marker into the net, also on the power play, with help from Daniel Briere and Brian Campbell.
Buffalo then added its second goal at 14:05 when Ales Kotalik scored his 14th.
On a man advantage, Boston sniper Glen Murray added his 21st of the season, with assists going to Zdeno Chara
and Marc Savard
, at 18:18.
But Derek Roy finally put the Sabres up by a goal (3-2) going into the first break when he scored at 19:54.
The score stayed static through the second period with the Sabres leading the B's 3-2. That, however, was a small victory for the Black & Gold, as Buffalo had looked to cut Boston for a deathblow in the middle session. But the New Yorkers were unable to dent the Thomas' twine with any of their 10 shots as the Boston goalie continued his fine play from Monday.
Even the officials thought Thomas had gone above and beyond the call of duty to stop a goal when he knocked into the net and sent the goal off its moorings at 7:58. And despite the goalie's protestations to the contrary he was given a rare penalty, served by defenseman Milan Jurcina.
Meanwhile, 200-feet down the ice sheet, Buffalo's all-star goaltender, Ryan Miller, was hardly bothered during the second stanza and had only to make five saves to keep the Sabres in the lead going to the second intermission.
Thanks to a beautiful set up by center Marc Savard
, Kessel led the Bruins into the third period with a quick goal, his second of the game, at the 56-second mark, to make the score 3-3 with nearly a full session to go in the game.
Thomas had to be spectacular to keep the score knotted, and made several desperation, highlight-type saves, but was finally bested.
Buffalo's Brian Campbell broke New England's heart when he scored his 6th of the year at 10:05.
Maxime Afinogenov added another at 14:44 and Daniel Paille
scored an empty netter to ice it for the home squad.
"We were right in the game, and came out in the third playing the same way," said defenseman Brad Stuart. "We tied the game up.
"(But) their game is to score goals off the rush, that's what they do and you have to pick up those guys coming in late," he said.
Needless to say, the Sabres made life very difficult for the Boston goaltender.
"They were throwing cross crease passes left and right," said Thomas. "Every time they went behind the net, they were throwing it out front."
"They can do awesome stuff with the puck, at high levels of speed," agreed Bobby Allen, a Braintree, Massachusetts native playing in his first game with the Bruins.
"There are a lot of world class players in this league and you have to be ready to go on the back end…(The Sabres) especially, have lots of speed.
"And when they break us up in the neutral zone they are coming at us hard," he said.
Pittsburgh, no doubt, will do the same on Thursday night when they visit the TD Banknorth Garden at 7:00 p.m.