Boston, MA - Henrik Tallinder scored with 4:21 left to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Saturday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Joe Thornton and PJ Axelsson each scored a goal, as Boston’s record fell to 7-9-5 on the season with the defeat.
Newly acquired defenseman David Tanabe played well for the Bruins, logging 17:05 of ice time despite flying across the country earlier in the day to be able to play in the game. At 6’1” and 212 pounds, the White Bear Lake, Minnesota native comes to the Bruins with a strong physical presence, not to mention plenty of speed. In 21 games with the Coyotes, Tanabe tallied four assists and just eight penalty minutes. Tanabe brings speed, size, and discipline to the blue line and looks to help fix some of the recent defensive woes.
“I was happy with how I played tonight, but obviously I want to help this team start winning games,” said David Tanabe. “That’s what I am here for. I’m here to win and earn some respect.
“I want to be part of a great situation and a winning team and a winning tradition. I think every player does. When I get traded to an original six team, in a big market, I’ve spent my whole career playing in small markets (Carolina/ Phoenix), so for me to be in a big market it’s something I want to seize. I want to seize this opportunity and do the best I can. It will be different to see full buildings all the time. It’s a great opportunity.”
“I thought he had a pretty good game for us,” commented Coach Mike Sullivan. “His skating ability was evident. It’s tough to fly across the country and then suit up for a team that you have met for the first time. I thought (David) handled it real well.”
At 16:35 of the first period, Brad Isbister was whistled off for boarding. Buffalo made good on the ensuing power play, converting at 18:24 for a 1-0 lead on Ales Kotalik’s tenth of the season. Boston looked tighter on defense in the period, despite giving up a 1-0 lead to the Sabres.
Just 3:08 into the second period, Joe Thornton tied the game at 1-1 for the Bruins with his eighth goal of the season. Alex Zhamnov slid the puck across the blue line to Jiri Slegr who shot the puck on net. Thornton tipped the blast into the back of the net for the power play tally.
9:21 later, Buffalo took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Daniel Briere. With a crowd in front of Andrew Raycroft, the puck slid to an open Briere who scored his 12th goal of the season.
The Bruins battled back again, as Boston scored with just under a minute remaining in the period when PJ Axelsson scored his sixth of the season to make it a 2-2 game. Andrew Alberts ripped a slap shot from the point, hitting a crowd in front of Buffalo goalie Mika Noronen. After hitting the crowd, the puck squirted through to Axelsson who fired it quickly into the net. The assist was Andrew Albert’s first NHL point.
In the third period, the Sabres scored the eventual game winner at 15:39, when Henrik Tallinder scored on a shot from the point that beat a screened Andrew Raycroft.
“Our penalty kills were good tonight,” said Raycroft. “Special teams scored a big goal too. For the most part, we kept them from cycling the puck a lot down low and the â€˜D’ did a good job of moving the puck up. We just need to find a way to be focused all the time. I thought were more disciplined tonight.”
“We had some chances in the third, but we can’t put the puck in the net it seems like,” said PJ Axelsson. “We’re not giving up a whole lot of chances but somehow the puck goes in our net. We’ve had some bad bounces. Maybe we need a good bounce to turn it around.”
The B’s get right back to work and fly to New York where they take on the New York Rangers Sunday at 7:00 p.m. in the first of four games between these two teams this season.