By John Bishop, BostonBruins.comBoston --
Chris Drury scored two goals for the Buffalo Sabres as they defeated the Boston Bruins, 6-2, Saturday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Drury, off to the best start of his eight year career, paced Buffalo with his eighth and ninth goals of the season and helped the Sabres extend their unbeaten streak to eight games.
Both goalies looked strong early, with both Boston's Hannu Toivonen and Buffalo's Martin Biron, who was making only his second start of the season, making point blank saves early on in the first stanza.
However, Drury, a former Boston University Terrier captain and Hobey Baker Award winner, opened the scoring for Buffalo at 6:08, blasting a power play slap shot from the point to beat the B's rookie goaltender.
Boston bounced back quickly as Wade Brookbank scored his first of the year and first as a Bruin, with help from Marc Savard
and Brad Boyes, at 8:02.
Then, the Sabres took the lead back, 2-1, when a mishap near the Bruins goal gave the Sabres a clear angle to the goal. Buffalo's Ales Kotalik put the puck by a sprawling Toivonen at 12:53.
The Bruins quickly realized that Biron was going to stop anything that he could see and continued to crash the net until the end of the opening period.
Early in the second period, Buffalo's Jason Pominville scored a power play goal at 1:17. Then the Sabres looked to put the B's away early when Maxim Afinogenov chased Toivonen at 2:56 with another quick goal making the score 4-1 early in the stanza. Tim Thomas
took the net for the Bruins and attempted to stem the tide.
However, before he could stop a shot, Boston's Phil Kessel scored his first NHL goal with 16:46 remaining in the period (assisted by Patrice Bergeron
) to put Boston back into the contest.
Five minutes into the second period Buffalo tested Thomas and the Boston goalie made several clutch saves, no doubt while shaking off some stiffness from sitting on the bench during the first session.
And, after Kessel's goal and Thomas' relief heroics, the Black-and-Gold buzzed protectively around the Boston twine and swarmed the Buffalo net several times. Unfortunately for the Boston crowd, Biron stayed square to the Bruins' shots, and was able to keep the score static into the second intermission.
The Bruins got some bad news to start the 3rd, as they lost veteran Brad Stuart to a broken finger for the rest of the Buffalo game. However, Boston kept the pressure up despite the two-goal deficit, until Drury "pinballed" a puck off a Boston defenseman and past Thomas.
And then Buffalo's Thomas Vanek scored at 9:11 of the third, to put the game out of reach.
"They're playing like they know they are going to win," said Thomas of Buffalo, whose main core has been together for two-plus seasons. "And you gotta build that."
"They're not dominating us by any means," said Brad Boyes. "We've gotta just keep playing like we have at home. It hasn't been awful, but we haven't had the results we wanted…eventually we're going to have a couple of bounces here and there."
Boston is off until Thursday when they face the Montreal Canadiens at the Garden while the Sabres take on the Habs on Monday.