It took 60 minutes of regulation, five minutes of overtime and five shootout rounds to get there, but the Boston Bruins eventually got the best of the Buffalo Sabres to sweep their road trip and extend their winning streak to ten games. After a 6-2 loss to the Bruins on November 12 in which they failed to respond to Milan Lucic's collision with goalie Ryan Miller, the Sabres tried to prove they weren't soft, so they proceeded to initiate and lose several fights en route to a 4-3 loss. The Sabres took a two-goal lead in the first period, but the Bruins outshot them 27 to 18 over the next 45 minutes to force a shootout and earn the comeback win.
Tim Thomas quelled an early flurry by Buffalo; then Paul Gaustad and Lucic dropped the gloves to quickly initiate the inevitable fight (won easily by Lucic). The Sabres notched the first goal of the game on a power play at 11:56 when Christian Ehrhoff put in his second of the season. Thomas Vanek got Buffalo's second power play score a few minutes later. Thanks to three early power plays and an extra shot of adrenaline, Buffalo put 16 shots on goal in the first period.
After collecting themselves in the intermission, the Bruins dominated the puck for the first six minutes of the second period. Sophomore phenom Tyler Seguin reversed Boston's scoring luck, sniping his 12th goal of the year 3:37 into period number two. Midway through the period, T.J. Brennan extended Buffalo's lead back to two with a clear look at the net that resulted in his first goal in the NHL. Nearing the end of the period, Brad Marchand responded with his seventh of the year, wrapping around the net to score on the rebound.
On an early third period power play, Zdeno Chara tied the game at three with his third goal of the season. Both Dennis Seidenberg and Joe Corvo beat Jhonas Enroth and rang posts, but came up empty. The Sabres got one last power play chance in the last minute of the period, but the two teams finished regulation tied at 3-3 and went to overtime.
With a minute remaining on the power play, Buffalo started the extra frame on a four-on-three, but Thomas held his ground. With less than 90 seconds remaining, Nathan Horton got Boston's best overtime chance in a one-on-one with Enroth who made the big stop to extend the game. Thomas and Enroth matched saves through four shootout rounds before Benoit Pouliot finally broke through and won it in round five.
Despite the early power play scores, Thomas was outstanding in net for the Bruins and his work in the overtime and shootout was vintage. He stopped 31 out of 34 shots and kept the Sabres out of the net in all five shootout rounds to lead Boston to the win. The 13-7 Bruins remain undefeated in November and now lead the NHL in wins.
Boston returns home for an afternoon matchup with the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, November 25. Following a win over the Calgary Flames, the Red Wings' record sits at 12-7-1 entering their meeting with the Bruins.
Boston at Buffalo, Wednesday, November 23, 2011, Yahoo! Sports
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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