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Live from the Arena: Sabres vs. Bruins

Are you feeling desperate? Hate to think the Sabres have to feel that way on Nov. 3 but that's the fact as they meet the Boston Bruins tonight in HSBC Arena. The Sabres are 3-7-2 overall, they're 0-4-1 at home, they're 29th in the NHL. Yes, 29th. 

The Bruins, meanwhile, are 6-2-0 and have allowed an astounding 11 goals in eight games. Tim Thomas has an 0.50 goals-against and a .984 save percentage -- allowing just three goals on 185 shots and leading the league in both categories. Tuukka Who? 

It's going to be Jhonas Enroth's second NHL game in goal with Ryan Miller out. Enroth's first was against the Bruins last year in TD Garden, a 4-2 loss. Craig Rivet and Jason Pominville are back while Chris Butler, Mike Weber and Nathan Gerbe are scratched. Memo to the Sabres: With the kid in goal, you better stay out of the penalty box.

The special teams battle looks like a mismatch: The Sabres are 20th on the power play (13 percent) while Boston is ninth (21.9). It's much worse on the penalty kill with Boston leading the league at 93.1 percent (27 of 29) while the Sabres are 27th at 74.5 percent (38 of 51). The Bruins are the only team in the league to not give up a power-play goal on the road (12 for 12). The Sabres are 25th at home at 75 percent (12 of 16).

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Third Period

8:53 p.m.: We're under way. The folks here are thrilled.

15:03 left: Another power play chance for Buffalo as Shawn Thornton goes for tripping.

13:40 left: Sabres get a two-man edge for 37 seconds as Bergeron goes for tripping. Sabres call their timeout.

13:02 left: Roy can't stuff it in an empty net off a Vanek feed .. and Connolly then loses the puck -- again -- and gets booed off the ice.

11:00 left: Quite the primal scream from down below us, followed by a "Timmy, you  (stink)" The fans have seen enough of Connolly too. Why hasn't Ruff?

7:30 left: Connolly getting booed every time he touches the puck -- more than Chara. Folks here know the deal.

6:54 left: Rivet for tripping on the back end of a Sabres' 4-on-1. Didn't see it. Rivet was bemused too. 

4:34 left: Sekera on a backhander through Thomas' legs. Pretty soft goal. 4-2, Bruins. B's have clearly just been trying to run the clock and get out of here.

2:25 left: Shots are 33-25 for Sabres (12-5 in 3rd). They better not try to sell this as a good battle over the last 30 minutes.

2:07 left: Lucic into an empty net to make it 5-2. Way too easy. 

1:48 left: Vanek for hooking. You should see how empty this place is, especially the 100 level.

Mercifully, it's over: A passionless 5-2 loss extends the losing streak to four and deepens the crisis. Final shots were 35-26, as if that tells any part of the story. 

Second Period

Notes: Sabres had a 16-3 edge in faceoffs in the first eriod and Gaustad won all nine of his draws. Like that matters. And like stats matter. Connolly is credited with one giveaway. What a joke. Stafford is minus-3 and Leopold, Connolly and Gaustad are minus-2. The Sabres came on to the ice with less than 55 seconds left in the break. Some paint chipped off the wall perhaps? Lalime is now in goal.

17:49 left: Ryder makes it 4-0, outmuscling Niedermayer down the right wing and beating Lalime on a shot near the glove that had to be stopped.

14:40 left: Myers goes for roughing. Hey, at least it's not Craig Rivet's fault.

12:04 left: Those stupid scoreboard blooper reels are back. Guess the desperation set in and they need to show the fans something to laugh at other than the pathetic play of the home team. "Bloopers and Blunders"? That's the title for this game.

8:03 left: Finally some life from this club as Mark Stuart gets nailed for roughing Kaleta and was working him over with a cross-check -- and McCormick sprints across the ice and pounds Stuart with a big right. Looks like McCormick is gone on the instigator. Still waiting for the call. At least McCormick has a pulse. Stuart gets two and five. McCormick gets two, five and 10. Guess there is no instigator rule anymore. If that's not it, what is?

5:02 left: Wheeler goes for slashing the stick out of Ennis' hand.

3:21 left: Stafford breaks the shutout on the power play stuffing it past Thomas on the edge of the crease. Bruins, 4-1. Puck came in from Connolly at the left point. Sure sounded like the crowd was booing No. 19 every time he touched the puck.

2:53 left: Lucic bumps Grier from behind near the Buffalo bench and Kaleta emerges bloody in the face from the scrum with Lucic and Nathan Horton. Kaleta gets roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.

1:18 left: Tyler Seguin for hookins so Sabres have a 4-on-3.

42.3 left: Thomas with a great save on Pominville from in tight after a pair of bullet point shots, one by Connolly, go wide. Gotta hit the net in this situation.

End-2nd: Boston holds its 4-1 lead. Shots were 12-8 for Buffalo and 21-20 for the Sabres in the game. Mighty deceiving.

First Period

Pregame notes: The Sabres' starters are Sekera-Rivet on defense with McCormick-Gaustad-Grier up front. Let's just say there was underwhelming applause when the team was announced to take the ice. Plenty of empty seats in the corners as you would expect. 

17:11 left: Ryder goes for hooking, a silly play against the boards in front of the Buffalo bench. The lines have gone like this: McCormick-Gaustad-Grier, Hecht-Roy-Pominville, Vanek-Connolly-Kaleta and Ennis-Niedermayer-Stafford

16:28 left: Just a brutal, brutal play by Connolly, whose back pass to the point goes right by Pominville and sends Brad Marchand off on a breakaway from the Boston line down. Marchand beats Enroth off the post  to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Just a couple seconds before, Connolly didn't pass to a wide-open Stafford in front of the Boston net. It's Marchand's first NHL goal.

15:00 left: Great play by Leopold to break up a 2-on-1.

11:35 left: Shots are 4-2 for Boston as the Sabres continue to be jittery with the puck and in disarray in their own end. Kaleta has tried to go for a couple big hits, clearly to get some momentum going, and missed both times. The building is dead and you can hear the grumbling starting already. This could be one ugly night. At this TV timeout, a nice scoreboard salute for Mike Grier, who is playing in his 1,000th career game. He's one of just 250 players in the NHL to reach that mark. Grier salutes the crowd when he's shown on the bench on the HD board.

9:41 left: Enroth looks pretty ridiculous in goal with his black and red Portland Pirates pads and dark blue pants that don't match the Sabres' new third jersey. Guess they're thinking he's here for one game or what? This isn't the preseason. Give the kid the look at least.

8:29 left: Like every other home game this year. Booooooooooooooooring. (Shots are 6-4 for Boston).

5:45 left: Stafford strips Chara, who has been guilty of a couple giveaways tonight and it's one of the few aggressive plays the Sabres have made. Lo and behold, it leads to a penalty as Dennis Seidenberg goes for holding.

5:06 left: Connolly should be done for the rest of the night. Another giveaway in the Boston zone on the PP and the puck is in the net a few seconds later on a Patrick Bergeron wrister that snapped past Enroth. At least three Sabres were by the puck when Bergeron got it. No excuse. Two shorthanded goals. Disgrace. 2-0.

3:06 left: Is Lindy going to be here tomorrow? Blake Wheeler with a tap-in from in front as Stafford as Morrisonn do nothing about it. 3-0, Boston.

2:25 left: Nathan Horton barely misses making it 4-0. 

1:49 left: Connolly for slashing. WHY IS HE ON THE ICE? Maxim Afinogenov used to get benched for far less. We forget up here. Darcy said he was a top-20 center in the league.

1:24 left: Some Bronx cheers for poor Enroth, who makes a solid glove save on a Chara laser.

End-1st: It's 3-0 Boston and shots are 12-9 for the Bruins. This could be one of the ugliest nights in recent Sabres history, folks.

 

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | [email protected]

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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