BOSTON -- It's time for the suddenly injury-riddled Sabres to face off against the desperate Boston Bruins here in TD Garden. In case you missed any of the injury news, the Sabres announced within the hour that Patrick Kaleta had thumb surgery today and is out a minimum of two weeks (translation: done for the regular season and hope to return in the playoffs). Earlier today, Lindy Ruff told us that Raffi Torres is getting closer to returning.
It's been a brutal day here in Beantown. It is raining cats, dogs and whales from the New England Aquarium next to my hotel. States of emergency have already been declared in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The Sabres haven't run into too many snowstorms this season but they've been pounded by rain. Virtually all of their West Coast trip to Phoenix and California was a washout in January.
Of course, all that rain didn't prevent some excellent-as-always lobster bisque at the Boston Chowda company in Fanueil Hall. Yum alert. And waiting anxiously for the dessert cart to make his nightly first intermission appearance up here on the ninth level (yes, level 9) of the Garden.
Onward. And don't forget to turn on Versus for this one. No MSG.
18:00 left: We're back on. Apologies for the sporadic updates as it's been a busy night on the print edition front.
17:29 left: Rask stops Roy on a clear-cut breakaway from the Boston line in. Two chances to build what would certainly build an insurmountable three-goal lead.
13:35 left: You can sense the Bruins frustration building, with scrums at almost every whistle. Shots are 33-30 for Boston. I've been surprised how loosely this one has been played, especially with Boston desperate for a playoff spot. A very non-Bruins kind of game.
12:58 left: As they say in the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry, tonight Miller is Sturm's daddy. Just stoned him again on a slapper from the slot. Dude has eight shots on goal and nothing to show for it.
5:37 left: Uh-oh. Sabres caught on a change by a long pass from Rask and Dennis Seidenberg beats Miller with a snap shot that leaks through his glove. Tough one there after 35 saves. 3-2.
2:14 left: This is hold-on mode with the Bruins buzzing. Shots are 41-32.
57.7 left: Rask out. Icing after bad attempt by Montador.
14.4: Icing on Stafford. He had time too.
It's over: A 3-2 final. Great game by Miller, who made 40 saves. Sabres seven points up in the division and a point out of second in the conference.
Of note: Spoke to Darcy Regier during intermission about injuries. The two weeks cited on Patrick Kaleta is a minimum. That's not necessarily good. Connolly and Vanek, however, sound like they'll be ready for the playoffs. Check out the new post here.
17:20 left: Sabres avert disaster as Blake Wheeler fans with an open net starting him in the face after a perfect pass from Michael Ryder.
16:13 left: First penalty of the game is a holding call on Mancari.
14:20 left: Great work by Pominville on the penalty kill, blocking one shot and causing other trouble for the Boston point men.
13:52 left: Sabres go up, 3-1, as Kennedy dribbles on through Thomas after taking a perfect pass from Roy. Great work along the wall by Stafford. And that's it for Thomas as big cheers greet Tuukka Rask and boos greet Thomas' exit. Quite a fall from grace for him in one season. Kennedy's ninth. Three goals on 13 shots against Thomas.
10:47 left: Miller makes a strong save on Zdeno Chara and Sturm takes a hooking penalty for Boston a few seconds later. Let's see if the new-look power play can give the Sabres a three-goal edge.
9:27 left: Jumbled power play so far. Sabres botch a 3-on-1 and Miller has had to make two good saves. Rask just stopped Myers from the slot.
7:13 left: Got an email and a Twitter message about how Versus keeps saying "Tyler Kennedy" instead of Tim. There's just no excuse for a mistake like that. You're the hockey network. Get the names right.
5:20 left: Miller confounds Sturm again after the Boston winger broke by Montador and got in alone.
2:48 left: Rask solid so far. No goals on 11 shots since he came in. Shots are 26-24 for Boston.
2:04 left: Sabres living dangerously leaving guys alone in front but Miller has been staunch. He just robbed Mark Recchi on the doorstep.
1:47 left: Roy for hooking Chara in front of Bruins net.
1:03 left: Pominville stopped on a breakaway by Rask and then wiped out by Sturm as he tries to poke at a potential rebound. That could have been game-over. The giveaway was by Wideman too. Rough night for him.
End-2nd: Sabres lead, 3-1. Shots are 28-25 for Boston (14-14 in that period). LOTS of boos for the Bruins' PP. Pretty novel to hear boos for the opponents' PP units. .
18:12 left: Making sure the lines are the same as they were in the morning skate. Will report back on that in a sec. I will say this -- there are a TON of empty seats here. Maybe some of it is the weather. It's not Atlanta-empty but it's prettyi shocking.
16:50 left: Ryan Miller has already made two solid saves on David Krejci.
16:40 left: Marco Sturm is stopped by Miller on a penalty shot after he's pulled down by Craig Rivet. Pretty weak effort. Looked like he tried to go 5-hole. Miller was way out of his net and all over it.
16:00 left: Shots are 5-1 for Boston, which has controlled most of the play and had two huge hits: Vladmir Sobotka running over Tyler Myers in the neutral zone and Johnny Boychuk flattening Jason Pominville in the Boston end.
13:30 left: Easily Buffalo's best shift so far sees two chances from the Ellis-Mair-Mancari line. All the lines are the same as this morning: Gerbe-Gaustad-Grier started, it's Kennedy-Roy-Stafford and Ennis-Hecht-Pominville. Defense is Tallinder-Myers, Lydman-Montador and Sekera-Rivet.
12:55 left: Great pressure by the Bruins as Myers, in particular, had a rough shift. Miller was way out of the net trying to stop Milan Lucic and a sliding block by Gerbe prevented the puck from coming out front to a wide-open net.
12:17 left: Krejci gets his much deserved-goal by going around Miller at the goal-line and stuffing it behind the goalie on the backhand to put Boston up 1-0. Weak play along the boards by Rivet, weak play in the slot with the puck by Hecht.
10:04 left: Myers ties it up by fluttering one home from the right point just off the boards Looked like it might have ticked defenseman Dennis Wideman in front before going past Thomas. Myers' 11th.
8:26 left: Sabres go ahead, 2-1, as Gaustad backhands home a terrible rebound given out by Thomas on another simple Myers wrist shot. And strangely enough, that one went in again off Wideman, this time off his skate. Ex-Sabres draftee has two helpers for his old organization. Gaustad's 12th.
1:30 left: This has been a dominant period for Myers in the last 13 minutes. Maybe he needed to clear the cobwebs out after the early hit he took. On the other end is Rivet. How many times is he going to get beat/turn the puck over in this period. Brutal. Gaustad, by the way, has scored in three straight games -- after collecting just one goal in his previous 28. Nice. If there's injuries, other guys have to step up like that.
End-1st: Sabres lead, 2-1. Shots are 14-11 for Boston. Miller has been better than Thomas, the Olympic teammate he relegated to the bench in Vancouver. The scoreboard reflects that.
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