BOSTON -- Greetings once again from Level 9 of the TD Garden. When you get to this point in the season, there's not much to say. Thomas Vanek is in and Marc Savard is out. The Sabres are in win-or-go-home mode. The fans in Buffalo want to see Game Seven on Wednesday night. The folks here want to get that date with either Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin in the second round.
Before we get to the serious blogging, gotta give it up to the food in Boston. The Garden press room has fine fare (as does the much-improved offerings in HSBC Arena), but you have to sample the local fare too. Today's stop was Hennessy's Irish Pub for some outstanding clam chowder, lobster rolls, fish and chips and crabcake salad. Just up the street from last week's chowder choice, the Green Dragon tavern. They both rate. Great food town.
Drop the puck. Please.
Buffalo starters: Connolly-Gaustad-Grier/Montador-Lydman
Boston starters: Sturm-Bergeron-Recchi/Chara-Boychuk
7:10 p.m: The puck is dropped. Game on. This place is a cauldron of noise. How loud? Here's what it sounds like from the press box just before the teams take the ice to "Welcome to the Jungle"
Stats of note: The Sabres have just one third-period goal in this series (Ennis' empty-netter in Game Five). That doesn't bode well. ... the Bruins have led for 26:21 tonight -- they led for a combined 19:40 over the first five games. ... Vanek played 5:12 on six shifts in that period. That's 10:14 on 14 shifts, including 2:53 of PP time. Vanek and Krejci are the only players in the game with three shots on goal. ... Hits are 29-18 for Boston (but it was 9-9 in the second period). Boston has 21-16 edge in shots on goal.
8:57 p.m.: The puck is dropped. Is it the final 20 minutes of the season?
18:49 left: Rask stops Ennis just off the edge of the crease after the kid stole the puck. Just 20 seconds in, Vanek had a great chance streaking down the right (off) wing but fanned on a Mair pass.
18:19 left: Miller stops Ryder in front. He can't let anything go by him.
16:54 left: Buffalo blows a 4-on-2 and Mair goes for high sticking Lucic -- a four-minute double minor. Accidental but a clear calls. Refs missed one in the second against Tallinder however.
15:14 left: Three saves thus far by Miller. Shot lanes open and he's seeing everything.
13:09 left: Miller stops Satan on the one-timer a few seconds after Satan just misses. There's 15 seconds left in the Mair penalty.
12:54 left: Miller freezed the puck and the penalty is over. Sabres survive still down by just one. Huge. Montreal up, 3-0, in the third over Washington. The Habs are going to get Game Seven in the Verizon Center. Wow. Never would have called that.
12:42 left: That might be it as the Bruins go up by two on a Krejci tap-in after Lucic simply works over Roy after getting the puck from Myers. 3-1, Boston.
12:20 left: Hold everything. Gerbe gets that one RIGHT BACK on a horrible giveaway from Ryder, who handed the puck right to Gerbe in the slot. 3-2, Boston. His first playoff goal.
9:59 left: Recchi shoots it into Miller on the backhand with the whole net open as Miller is down and out. Huge break.
6:28 left: Rask stops Pominville on a wicked wrist shot.
5:11 left: That might it be this time as Satan taps one into an empty net a few seconds after Miller robbed him. It all started after Montador blew a tire behind the net like he did in overtime in that February loss in Carolina. Ugly. 4-2, Boston.
4:11 left: The place is wild during the timeout. They can smell it here.
3:54 left: Final four minutes of the season.
2:41 left: Final three minutes.
2:29 left: Miller to the bench. It's desperation time.
1:46 left: Timeout, Buffalo.
1:13 left: Hold everything II -- Vanek puts one home with a one-timer to Rask's right on a Pominville feed. 4-3, Boston. Think he would have made a difference? MVP in this series was Johnny Appleseed, er, Boychuk for cutting down Vanek in Game Two.
50.5: Faceoff outside Boston zone.
GAME OVER/SEASON OVER: Bruins hold on for 4-3 win. Final shots were 32-30 for Boston. (Sabres didn't get a key icing call that would have meant a faceoff in the last 10 seconds>
Stats of note: Boston had a 20-9 edge in hits in the opening 20 minutes (four by Sobotka). Much more intensity than Game Five. No one for either team with more than two shots. Vanek played eight shifts totaling 5:02. ... The Bruins are 5 for 19 on the power play, Buffalo is 0 for 17. Buffalo's 73.7 percent penalty-killing rate is far short of its regular-season mark of 86.6. ... Recchi (2-2-4) and Matt Hunwick (0-4-4) are now tied with Bergeron (2-2-4) and Ennis (1-3-4) for the series scoring lead.
8:06 p.m.: The puck is dropped. The teams are playing 4-on-4 for the next 1:55.
19:44 left: Connolly with a stupid crosschecking penalty in the Bruins zone on Wideman. Why's Connolly even on the ice any more?
18:59 left: Another PP goal. Speical teams are the series. Recchi beats Miller from the goalie's left on a perfect Krejci pass, with Lydman too late to cover. 2-0, Boston. Bruins are 6 for 20 on the PP in the series.
16:52 left: Sabres in huge trouble. One more goal -- the kind Buffalo couldn't get twice when it had a 2-0 lead in this series -- would basically put this one away. Connolly, among others, giving the puck away and getting beat badly. All the good of Connolly's season has been shot by this series.
15:49 left: Lucic gets a roughing penalty against Kennedy as the puck is held against the boards. How do you only give one penalty there? That's a break for the Sabres. Oh yeah, it really isn't with this power play.
14:27 left: The PP is again a joke. Pominville loses the puck at the line to Sturm and grabs him to prevent a breakaway but doesn't get nailed for the infraction. Wow. Sabres simply win no puck battles with the man-advantage.
13:35 left: Another PP done. What's that? 0 for 18?
13:26 left: Sabres back in the game. Wideman with a terrible giveaway to Mair, who feeds Kennedy, who feeds Kaleta for a perfect tip-in. Boston, 2-1. First playoff goal for the Angola native. It came 13 seconds after the penalty expired (No Lindy, you can't count that as a PP tally).
12:11 left: Ennis wide on the backhand on a breakaway. Great feed from Pominville. Bruins didn't learn Sabres' lesson about not getting the third goal.
9:43 left: Bruins getting killed in their end all of a sudden. Sabres all over them. They need this TV timeout desperately. Great shift by Gaustad and Grier especially had them hemmed in.
4:37 left: Rask with a super save on Vanek, who undressed Wideman by pulling the puck through the D-man's legs to get in alone. Nothing wrong with the ankle there. (OK, so Vanek doesn't have a whole lot of acceleration at times but he can turn it on in bursts).
3:06 left: Vanek stopped again as he takes the puck from behind the net and cuts in front.
2:19 left: Too many men on the ice on Boston as Sobotka jumps off the bench just as Roy is skating by with the puck.
End-2nd: Another utterly ridiculous PP with Connolly doing nothing other than losing the puck. Boston leads, 2-1. Shots are 19-19 (8-5 Boston in that period)
17:28 left: Vanek skating on fourth line with Kennedy and Kaleta, gets to a loose puck and has a quality scoring chance stopped by Rask. Kennedy draws a cross-checking penalty on Begin.
17:11 left: Sturm off post on breakaway after turning Pominville in knots.
16:40 left: Miller made a sensational save in first 35 seconds on Satan and Rask stopped Ennis a few seconds later. Those two chances have set a breakneck pace early.
16:12 left: Miller stops Paille on a 2-on-1. Which team is on the PP here?
15:25 left: That's 0 for 17. Bruins had two shots and hit a post. Buffalo had one shot.
14:48 left: Rask holds on with a huge scrum in front and Montador dashing in from the right point looking for a loose puck. Good work by Kennedy-Mair-McCormick. We'll get the lines up at the first TV timeout.
14:20 left: Vanek skated a short shift with Roy and Pominville.
13:20 left: Shots are 4-3 for the Sabres and the Bruins did not give up the first goal. Almost got it themselves. The lines started like this for the Sabres: Connolly-Gaustad-Grier, Ennis-Roy-Pominville, Gerbe-Mair-McCormick, Vanek-Kennedy-Kaleta. We'll see how much Vanek gets thrown into different combinations.
12:18 left: Satan throws a punch at Myers along the boards. Satan? Really?
9:55 left: The Bruins Ice Girls are doing their T-shirt toss. Vogl is enraptured by their presence. I have crummy headphones so that little sound clip above might not give you the true picture. Trust me. I'm sitting between Bucky and Vogl and can barely hear either of them talking over the din.
9:20 left: Boychuk knocks down Vanek, who was a little gimpy going off. Some ferocious hitting by the Bruins so far, especially on the Buffalo defense. The B's can't catch Ennis though. He's driving them crazy but the kid has to SHOOT more.
8:21 left: Nice stop by Rask on a Lydman floater with Gerbe screening. Shots are 7-6, Boston.
7:26 left: Montador goes for interference. The yellow towels are whipping around through the crowd.
6:21 left: Amazing what a power play can do as Krejci with the perfect tip-in of a Recchi pass puts Boston in front, 1-0. And the Bruins finally have a first goal in the series. Let's see how they play with a lead -- and how the Sabres play from behind.
5:07 left: The "Toooooook" chants come out on a Rask save against Sekera, just as the "Mil-ler, Mil-ler" howls were deafening.
4:37 left: Another big stop by Rask on McCormick from the slot after a terrific Mair feed. There's Buffalo's trouble in a nutshell: When are Roy/Connolly/Pominville going to create those kind of chances?
3:38 left: Montreal leading Washington, 2-0? Caps don't have enough goaltending to go very far. They fattened up by going 19-3-4 in their terrible division. It shows.
27.5 left: Rask stops a Myers shot, Buffalo's 14th of the period. Came a few seconds after Pominville overpassed on a 2-on-1, trying to thread one to Vanek when he should have shot himself.
5.6 left: Killer. Tallinder bats a puck off the end boards out of midair and it goes over the glass. Delay of game. Hate that rule. But that was an easy call.
End-1st: A scrum at the buzzer and Chara takes a stupid roughing penalty going after Gaustad with the facewash -- after the referee waved him away and he didn't listen. Guess Game Five's conclusion did carry over, eh? Boston leads, 1-0, and shots are 14-11 for Buffalo.
taggedBoston Bruins | Sabres | Stanley Cup