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Live from the Garden: It's Game Six!

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.

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

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"

Third Period

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>

Second Period

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)

First 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.

Game 6 live pregame chat

Bulletin: Savard not in Bruins lineup tonight

BOSTON -- A member of the Bruins PR staff just came through the press room here at TD Garden with this word: The team is still awaiting results on Marc Savard's neuropsych test and he will NOT be in the lineup tonight.

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

No rest for the defense

BOSTON -- Both teams are going mostly with two defense pairs for major minutes in this series. Although there's an extra 27 minutes from Game Four skewing the numbers slightly, there are still monster time-on-ice averages being put up by these pairs through five games:

Sabres
Tyler Myers (27:00) and Henrik Tallinder (23:45)
Toni Lydman (26:02) and Steve Montador (24:07)

Bruins
Zdeno Chara (29:05) and Johnny Boychuk (25:27)
Dennis Wideman (25:37) and Matt Hunwick (23:56)

The only other blueliner in the series over 15 minutes is Boston's Andrew Ference at 15:12. For the Sabres, Andrej Sekera is averaging 14:18 and Craig Rivet is at 14:03.

"I feel great," Lydman said. "This is what I've been working toward since last summer and during the whole season. Being tired is not an issue right now and it can't be. If you're tired in the first round, imagine going all the way through four seven-game series."

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

Bruins looking for rare home finish

BOSTON -- Looking for any shred of info to grab on to that might point to a Sabres' win tonight? Here's one: The Bruins haven't closed a series on the ice at TD Garden since the opening round in 1999 against Carolina. They went on to lose in the second round to the Sabres.

The Bruins had not won a single playoff round since then until their first-round sweep of Montreal last season, and the 10-year drought equaled the longest in franchise history. And they know tonight's their night to clinch, lest they have to try to get the job done in Game Seven in HSBC Arena.

"This here tonight is the kind of game you play 82 games for," winger Blake Wheeler said. "We probably can't play any worse than we did [in Game Five] but we still get to come home and try to end it."

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

Savard might get the call tonight

BOSTON -- The Bruins are taking the ice here at TD Garden while the Sabres go on at 11:30. There is plenty of talk that Marc Savard may, in fact, play tonight. Kevin Paul Dupont's column in the Boston Globe today makes it seem like a good bet if Savard passes one final neuropsych test later today. That would seem to up the ante for Thomas Vanek to get back in the lineup. Tough situation for the Sabres.

POST-PRACTICE UPDATE: The Bruins' PR staff shooed reporters away from Savard's locker while the veteran was still on the ice and said he would not be commenting prior to the game. Coach Claude Julien would only say, "No confirmation right now" when asked about Savard's status.

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

Julien: Lindy doing 'a lot of whining'

It's not at Ken Hitchcock levels but Claude Julien is apparently getting sick of Lindy Ruff. The Bruins coach popped off today about Ruff's post-game comments Friday night that Zdeno Chara could be looking at a suspension for an instigator penalty. Ruff had already spoken in HSBC Arena prior to  Julien's comments b eing relayed back to Buffalo by the Associated Press.

"I've heard and read Lindy's comments. Hopefully, it's his way of taking pressure off his team," Julien said today at TD Garden. "If not, it's a lot of whining. Simple as that. Every coach has his tactics. You just worry about yourself. As I said last night, we seem to be the team that's doing bad things. They seem to be the team that's on the nice side of all that stuff and they do nothing wrong. It's tactics. Those are things in the playoffs that coaches use, hopefully to their advantage. I don't pay much attention to it."

Courtesy of the AP, here are some more thoughts from the Bruins about the Chara situation after their optional workout today. Chara was not available to the media.

Julien on the suspension  being rescinded

"“I think when you look at what happened and how it was put on paper after the game, to us it didn’t make much sense. So (general manager) Peter (Chiarelli) put in a request to the league to get the instigator rescinded, which after review they did. So to me it was just common sense.

"To be honest with you, I wasn’t even worried because I couldn’t see that (a suspension) happening. It didn’t take them long to rescind that stuff and it just didn’t make any sense. A guy got slashed behind the leg with a two-hander and he just turns around and still has a glove on and takes a pop and then three guys jump him. So where does all this stuff come from? I don’t know. Again, it’s just common sense and the league looked at it and they felt that he didn’t deserve it and took care of it.”

Defenseman Andrew Ference

“There wasn’t a fight. Instigator is when there’s a fight, and there wasn’t a fight. The guy [Paul Gaustad] clearly slashed him in the ankle going up the ice. So you really want to talk instigator …”

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

NHL confirms TSN report: No suspension for Chara

This rumor was circulating through HSBC Arena in the wee hours of this morning and TSN reported today that the NHL has decided there will be no Game Six suspension for Boston's Zdeno Chara in the wake of the instigator penalty he received with two-tenths of a second left Friday night.

UPDATE: The NHL has now officially announced the suspension is rescinded.

Each instigator call is reviewed and can be rescinded and Boston GM Peter Chiarelli reportedly filed the request to have it rescinded. NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell wiped out two last year, including one during the finals to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin.

This one is no surprise as the league is clearly saying Chara had no prior incidents during the game and that the last-second scrum was initiated by Paul Gaustad's slash on Chara's ankle. Still, referees awarded the instigator and the league saw fit to rescind it.

It's an understandable decision based on those two facts. Still, do you think the NHL would be so quick to wipe out a suspension if it was handed down to, say, Patrick Kaleta or Cody McCormick? Hardly. But there are always reasons to see why Mario Lemieux's famous quote that it's a "garage league" still apply.  We'll see what Lindy Ruff has to say when he meets the media today during the noon hour.

By the way, neither MSG nor CBC caught the slash or Chara's punches as the camera was following the puck for some reason. Boo. Good job, however, having that end camera replay to save the day.

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


Game 5 live pregame chat

Sobotka has no message for Lindy

Marc Savard is back skating with the Bruins but his return is not imminent. A major outgrowth of his injury, however, has been increased playing time for Vladimir Sobotka, a 5-foot-10 pepperpot of energy who has emerged as one of the surprising players in the series.

Sobotka is clearly under the Sabres' skin. Lindy Ruff even took a shot at him yesterday when he said, "You've got that little Sobotka who's ducking now, doesn't want to get hit by [Tyler] Ennis."

So Sobotka got plenty of attention in the Bruins' locker room today after the pregame skate. He said he hadn't heard about Ruff's comment but he wasn't too happy when it was relayed to him either. What would his message be to Ruff?

"I've got nothing to say to him," Sobotka said. "Just on the ice.  I'll show you on the ice."

Sobotka has shown plenty in this series with 23 hits in the last three games, a key assist on Dennis Wideman's goal in Game Three and his first  NHL fight (with Andrej Sekera).

He spent the bulk of last season at Providence, and this year had just 10 points and was minus-7 in 61 games. 

"It comes with more ice time and more confidence," Sobotka said. "I have trust of my coach on the ice. I have more confidence to make plays and get better."

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

Not over yet, teams say

The feeling in both dressing rooms on the morning of Game Five is the series isn't over despite Boston holding a 3-1 lead over Buffalo.

"I think we know what needs to be done, just go out and keep playing our game," Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller said. "It's perfectly within this team's capability to win one game and then focus on the next."

Said Boston coach Claude Julien: "Anybody thinks we're taking this lightly and we think it's a done series, they're wrong. It's only going to get tougher from here on in, starting tonight."

The audio files for Miller and Julien are below.

---John Vogl

Ryan Miller

Claude Julien

They said it after Game 4

BOSTON -- Lots of chatter I'm hearing that MSG did a quick signoff after the Sabres' double-overtime loss. Ridiculous but they only have a three-hour window and it costs more to stay on the air. This franchise has a joke of a TV operation without a regional network in town.

Anyway, here's some postgame audio. (Added Lindy Ruff. Classic to hear but you don't see the water bottlecap he tosses at the end). 

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

Lindy Ruff

Drew Stafford

Ryan Miller

Miroslav Satan

Michael Ryder

Live from the Garden, it's Game 4

BOSTON -- Time to stop talking and start playing. In the case of Cody McCormick, it's time to start hitting. Thanks to all who joined tonight's live chat. If you missed the chat,  Thomas Vanek is out. I would look for him to play Friday. For our next live chat, be sure to be there at the crack of 6:30 on Friday, prior to Game Five at HSBC Arena.

The giant black-and-gold Bruins banner is being shuffled over head by the Bruins' fans through the lower bowl. That's a pretty awesome sight. Of course, on MSG, you're probably seeing Cellino and Barnes. And in SD, no less.

It's really an embrarrassment what the Sabres are doing on TV. The whole country has the game in HD thanks to Versus, except the people who care about it the most. Disgrace. HD is standard and expected by viewers. The Sabres should be doing all 82 in HD next year. That's my rant. Thanks to Versus for giving me until 7:10 to make it.

We'll be watching the lines closely after an optional morning skate. First surprise is the starting lineup with Tim Connolly on left wing. Gaustad is centering and Grier on the right. Interesting.

---Mike Harrington

7:05 p.m.: The teams have yet to take the ice.

7:06 p.m: The Bruins hit the ice and the place goes beserk, with gold towels twirling over everyone's head. Waaaaay louder than HSBC, which loses a lot of volume to that high dome of a roof. The roof here is flat and low....And a lot of the volume here isn't the fans, it's the incredible volume of the music over the PA.

7:07 p.m.: Boston starters are Lucic-Bergeron-Recchi. On defense it will be Wideman and Hunwick.

7:09 p.m.: The anthem by local legend Rene Rancourt. Dude's got a set of pipes. But Vogl points out he's no Tara Minogue.

7:11 p.m.: Faceoff.

------------------------------------

SECOND OVERTIME

Observations: As you would expect, the building has been electric. What's interesting is that most of the fans on the sides -- especially the side behind the benches -- stood through the whole overtime (the fans on the end are sitting). It's given the game a very collegiate feel. 

Bucky just came back and said he saw a NESN highlight that the score of this one is on the Green Monster at Fenway Park. The telecast showed the dude inside the wall changing the period from "4" to "5"

Stats: Game tied. Shots are 35-33 for Boston. Faceoffs are tied at 30-30. Buffalo has 21 blocks, Boston 19. Boston has a 47-43 edge in hits. This is a total splitting hairs game. Wow.

The minutes are really piling up for individuals too. Myers and Lydman lead Buffalo at 32:59 apiece. Montador, who has been terrific aside from soring a goal, clocks in at 31:41 and has a game-high six blocks. Chara has been on the ice for 34:21 to lead all players. Boychuk and Wideman are at 31:00 for Boston. Torres, Connolly and Recchi all have a game-high five shots on goal.

Multi-OT minutiae: The Sabres haven't gone double overtime since losing to Ottawa in Game Two in 2007 on Joe Corvo's bouncer past Miller from the right point. Some guy named Drury lost the faceoff that directly led to that one. Buffalo is 4-4 in multi-OT affairs (3-3 in 2-OT games). Boston is 7-8 (4-6 in 2-OT).

10:27 p.m.: The pucks drops for the fifth period. The crowd is absolutely roaring.

18:57:  BRUTAL SHIFT for the Connolly line. Stuck for a minute. Bergeron just missed.

16:55: Lucic around Lydman, stopped by Miller.

15:36: This is the first multi-OT game of this year's playoffs. Love watching little Ennis pushing big Chara at a whistle.

14:51: Miller takes a shot on the collarbone from Lucic and crumbles. Ouch. He's up. Shaking it off.

14:10: TOO MANY MEN ON THE ICE ON BUFFALO. Only saw one replay but it looked like Stafford left early and tried to whirl around and get off. Ridiculous.

12:19. Satan does it to his old team on the backhand. On the power play. Absolute killer. Only shot on the PP too. BOSTON WINS, 3-2. Good night, season.

------------------------------------

OVERTIME

Numbers through regulation: Such an even game. Shots and score tied. Hits are 39-38 for Boston and faceoffs are 27-24 for the Bruins. ... Torres has a team-high four shots for the Sabres. Recchi leads Boston with five. ...

OT info: This is Buffalo's first OT game in the playoffs since they lost Game Five of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals on the Daniel Alfredsson goal. ... The Sabres are 4-3 in playoff overtime against Boston -- and the last one was all the way back in 1993. You might remember that one as MayDay. Buffalo is 31-25 in its history in playoff OT. Miller is 6-4. Rask has never been in one in the playoffs. Pominville and Montador (for  Anaheim vs. San Jose) are the only Sabres with a playoff OT winner. No Bruin has more than one either.

9:46 p.m: The puck is dropped for OT.

18;27 left: One shot apiece.

15:43 left: Ennis makes a dangerous pass to himself at the Buffalo line, races across the line and gets tripped by Bergeron. Wow, Would this be a time for a PP goal now?

13:40 left: Connolly hits post, Miller stops Wheeler on breakaway, Stafford just high. No shots on the PP and nearly a SH goal.  Jeez. And 0 for 14.

12:10 left: Miller ROBS Bergeron. Call a cop.

11:15: Rask stops Mair on an Ennis drop pass. Would have l iked Ennis to keep it.

10:49: Rask stops Connolly. Shots are 6-3 for Boston.

9:35: Two stops on Kaleta.

6:17: Not many whistles. Shots are 6-6.

5:15: Rask stops Roy.

3:48: Highway robbery by Miller on a Satan backhand wtih the glove on a dive. The goal horn even went off briefly. Sabres losing too many faceoffs in their end.

And we are going to DOUBLE overrrrtime: Shots were 10-8 for Boston. It's 35-33 for the Bruins. Much better scoring chances for the Bruins in the last 40 minutes. Miller has saved the Sabres' bacon, even though he probably hates the second Boston goal.

Third Period

Of note: Montador has five blocked shots in addition to his goal. Gaustad has four hits. McCormick had all three of his in the first period. Torres has a team-high three shots on goal. Recchi has four for Boston. Boston has a 19-18 edge in faceoffs and a 29-28 edge in hits. Sabres doing a better job  with the puck, as they have only six giveaways tonight after piling up 47 in the first three games.

Of note II: Looking forward to getting back to HSBC. They play non-stop music here before the game and during the intermissions and most of it is at heavy-metal volume. Even the Monkees "I'm a Believer." Jeez, take the volume down just a notch, folks. The season ticket-holders here must be deaf after a whole season of this.

8:58 p.m.: The puck is dropped.

18:23 left: Miller stones Recchi from the right circle.

18:02 left: McCormick goes for goalie interference for crashing into Rask going for an Ennis pass.

17:53 left:  And the power play strikes right away. Maybe the Sabres should take notes. Faceoff win, point shot by Hunwick, rebound goal by Krejci ahead of a diving Gaustad. Boston gets within 2-1.

17:26 left: Kaleta for boarding.

15:00 left: Great work by Grier to help kill penalty.

13:20 left: And it's tied up. Jeez. Bergeron gets the goal, sweeping the puck under Miller after good work by Paille. Kind of like Crosby beating him. First really bad goal of the series against Miller and what a horrible time. Boston ties it 2-2 and the Sabres call a timeout. You've got a two-goal lead through 40 minutes and you can't crumble like this. Two goals on four shots.

12:00 left: The "Mil-ler, Mil-ler" chants have never been louder. Place is rocking.

11:00 left: Rask's best save of the series,  a dive to his left to deny Grier after a great Connolly feed.

9:30 left: Sabres dominating in the Boston zone, much better since Ruff's basketball-style timeout.

8:21 left: Wheeler off the post to the left of a shaky-looking Miller.

3:30 left: Still tied. Shots are tied too  at 23-23.

We are going to oooooooooovertime: Miller bailed them out in the final 40 seconds with saves on Bergeron and Paille. Shots were 9-9. Tied again. Odd. 25-25 through regulation. No way this game should be at this point. Scored first in four straight. A pair of two-goal leads. Think the next goal is big? Just a little bit. Stay tuned.

Second Period

8:11 p.m.: Sorry for the delay, Harrington lost his Internet. There's 14:34 left, and Craig Rivet and Milan Lucic just dropped the gloves for a fight. It's 1-0, and Harrington will be back in a moment. John Vogl signing off.

13:25 left: A high-five to JVogl. I sent in a notebook for the print edition and got all locked up and Internet booted. Figured it all out now. Shots are 3-2 for Boston. Sabres having more trouble in their zone in this period. The best chance however was by Kennedy, who shot just wide from right in front of Rask on a big rebound off a Torres shot. Rivet held his own in mostly a clench with Lucic after McCormick started hostilities for going right at Chara with a solid push.

13:01 left: 2-0,  Buffalo. Montador fires from  the right point and it gets through Rask after it got through Krejci and hits Wideman's stick in fronti. Great play by Gaustad to create traffic. Assist to Connolly, his first point of the series.

10:27 left: Rask stops Montador from in front.

9:22 left: Solid road game thus far. Pucks in deep in the offensive zone. Good physical play. Miller unflappable. A 15-11 edge in shots (7-3 in this period).

6:56 left: A few seconds after Recchi hits the post Miller bails the Sabres out with a great pad save on yet another 4-on-2 (bad pass from Roy sent the Bruins away). The Buffalo forwards MUST stop the back passes in the offensive zone, especially the way their passing has been off. It's just creating odd-man rushes for the Bruins.

5:44 left: Lydman goes for tripping on another 2-on-1 break.

3:31 left: Bruins fall to 0 for 3 tonight and 1 for 9 in the series. Bigger news  however: Tallinder took a shot to what appeared to be the right hand and was in huge discomfort on the ice and as he headed to the bench

1:30 left: Tallinder is back on the ice.

48.4 left: Bergeron fans from the slot and Montador swallows the puck for a whistle.

End-2nd: 2-0 for the Sabres through two. Shots were 8-8 again and are 16-16. Miller comes through big as Sabres had just one in the last nine minutes.

First Period

17:48 left:  The Sabres score first again as Kennedy beats Rask after McCormick takes out two Bruins behidn the net. McCormick had nailed Sobotka 33 seconds earlier in the Buffalo zone too. HUGE start for him. McCormick was playing with Ennis and Mair. Kennedy had come off the bench. Great pass by Ennis after McCormick created space. 1-0, Buffalo on Kennedy's first career playoff goal. That's the way to respond for his play at the end of Game Three. Four straight games scoring first. Can you really go 1-3 doing that in a series where goals are at a premium?

15:30 left: Here's the lines -- Connolly-Gaustad-Grier, Stafford-Roy-Pominville, Ennis-Mair-McCormick, Torres-Kennedy-Kaleta.

14:00 left: Two more hits by McCormick on his next shift.

13:19 left: Shots are 5-2 for Buffalo at the first TV timeout. Standing ovation as the Boston College hockey team is introduced after winning the Frozen Four. Nice touch.

11:42 left: Rask with a nice top on Sekera after Miller stopped Lucic.

11:23 left:: Shots are 6-3 for Buffalo. Re my earlier point about scoring first, Bucky correctly points out how comfortable Boston has seemed when playing from behind. Several players told me yesterday the Bruins simply don't panic and that's how this series has gone. It's against the normal grain but it's been no big deal for Boston thus far.

7:27 left: The fans trying to get their team going with "Let's Go Bruins" chants. Rask makes a nice stop on Torres and a brief scrum develops. Kennedy gets the lone penalty, a cross-checking call. Pretty weird you only get one out of that. Sobotka was throwing punches at Kaleta.

5:20 left: The penalty is killed. Great play by Myers to break up a Satan pass in front.  Boston 1 for 7 on the PP in the series.

4:45 left: Rivet gets a holding penalty but it's a dubious call in these eyes. He got the puck in his race with Wheeler. Of course, JVogl correctly points out the loose puck was set up by a horrible pass from defense partner Sekera. Rivet did get his right hand on Wheeler but still. Jeez.

3:09 left: Lucic gone for boarding. Hit Tallinder from behind into the end boards. Fans not happy. Neither is Claude  Julien. Boston PP now 1 for 8. Sabres will have 1:36 on the PP. Lindy Ruff would call that a short one. I don't.

1:00 left: That's 0 for 13 for the PP. No shots but at least there was better zone time.

End-1st: Shots are 8-8 as the Sabres lead, 1-0, through one. Chara and Kaleta met hard at the buzzer and linesman Greg Devorski made the big takedown on Kaleta to end things and draw hoots from the crowd.

A call to Cody

BOSTON -- Cody McCormick, meet Johnny Boychuk. You would assume that will happen in the first five minutes of Game Four. McCormick, a tough guy who had 17 goals this year in Portland, will make his Sabres debut tonight. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder will be a badly needed physical presence for a Buffalo team that has lost too many physical battles in this series (see Mark Recchi vs. Tim Kennedy in Game Three) and lost both Thomas Vanek and Matt Ellis on plays involving Boston's defenseman.

"It was a really nice surprise," McCormick said of the callup. "I'm a physical player. I want to finish my hits, get the puck in and be responsible out there. You don't want to run out of position to make a hit or anything like that. You definitely have to make sure you're  thinking out there."

The Bruins certainly will be wary of McCormick.  They know what he's here for and McCormick said that's  fine.

"If that's what they're thinking, we can just keep hitting," he said. "We're going to be in the corners together so it's a good place to get some bangs in. I just want to come out, play physical, get the pucks in good spots, finish my hits and let them know I'm out there."

McCormick played four playoff games with Colorado in 2008 and he showed some skill and toughness in training camp with the Sabres this year.

"He's a big body that can get to the front of the net," said coach Lindy Ruff.  "He can win battles down low. Without Hecht, without Vanek, without some bigger bodies, some of the battles have gone the other way. A big guy who will be able to win some battles will be important to us. He's thought very highly of by Portland."

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

Savard cleared to skate with Bruins

BOSTON -- Marc Savard passed his neuropsych test Tuesday and the Bruins star has been cleared to skate with his team, although coach Claude Julien doesn't think he'll be returning any time soon.

"For me to sit here today and say, 'I predict he's going to be back...' is unrealistic," Julien said after his team's optional morning skate in TD Garden. "We're going day by day and that's where we're at."

The Sabres hit the ice at 11:30. Updates to come.

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

Live chat at 6:30 highlights today's schedule

BOSTON -- Be sure to join us tonight at 6:30 for another live chat prior to Game Four at TD Garden. Come right at the opening faceoff of the chat; we didn't have a lot of questions at the beginning of the one prior to Game Three and got absolutely swamped in the final 10-12 minutes. Get there early to get your question answered! The chat box will be posted here on Sabres Edge later today. It will run from 6:30-7 and then we will move on to our live game blog.

As for today's schedule, the Bruins will be skating at 10:30 a.m., followed by the Sabres at 11:30. We'll be sure to have all the news for you,  including the latest on Thomas Vanek and the arrival of tough guy Cody McCormick. Here's the links to today's coverage.

---Game preview: "It's not must-win," Lindy Ruff said. "It's a must-play-well, though. It's a must-compete-hard, and a must-play-well." Horsehockey. It's must-win. There's no coming back in this one if  the Sabres fall behind, 3-1.

---John Vogl's scouting report.

---Sabres notebook:  There's little change in Vanek's situation. You can also read about McCormick and get Matt Elllis' take on the big hit he took Monday from Johnny Boychuk.

---Speaking of Boychuk, Bucky Gleason takes a look at the Boston rookie who has suddenly supplanted  Zdeno Chara as the No. 1 villain in this series.  Somehow,  I think Mr. Boychuk may be getting a visit from Mr. McCormick tonight.

---Mistakes by young players making their playoff debuts have hurt the Sabres the last two games.

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

Paved paradise and talked in a parking lot?

WILMINGTON, Mass. --  That's basically what the Sabres did today after practice. Ristuccia Arena, the Bruins' training center, is about 35 minutes outside of town and it's a tight-tight-tight place. No way for the auxiliary locker room to be used by the media to conduct interviews.  So what did the Sabres' PR staff do? Improvise. The back doors went open and Lindy Ruff met the media under the sunshine in the parking lot in front of a leafless tree and some shrubs and mulch.

The Sabres even put Ruff on top of an equipment case to elevate him a few inches for the TV cameras. We told him now he gets what it's like to talk to Tyler Myers. Fans stood a few feet away behind ropes near the team bus waiting for autographs and watching the whole scene. One-by-one, a few players came out to the ramshackle interview area and chatted.

For all you folks who say we media folks are cold and heartless, we didn't make anyone else stand on the case, lest anyone sprain an ankle. Thomas Vanek looked down, rolled his eyes and shook his head when he saw the thing.

The whole thing was pretty comical were it not for the fact this is the playoffs. The Bruins have a full dressing room they regularly use at the rink that was fine for the media. The Garden wasn't available due to the Celtics game and potential alternate sites like Boston University and Harvard have already taken out their ice.

This scene was ridiculous for the playoffs of a major league. The Sabres deserved better treatment. The NHL should be embarrassed. Everyone got their work done -- although you had to step outside to use a cell phone since the tin can roof blocked most signals. It was a memorable, albeit silly, experience.

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


Game 3 pregame chat

Boychuk: 'Don't know what all the fuss is about'

BOSTON -- Rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk got swarmed in the Bruins' dressing room this morning, mostly by the Buffalo media, in the wake of his slash on Thomas Vanek that sent the Sabres' top forward careening into the end boards and out of the series for at least tonight and perhaps longer.

Boychuk knew he deserved a penalty on the play -- although he even admitted it should have been a slashing call and not a hook -- but said he was surprised at the resulting injury to Vanek.

"It wasn't even that bad," Boychuk said. "I was trying to go for the stick and hit his leg I think. I'm not even too sure. I hit his right one and his left one is sore. I don't know what all the fuss is about."

Let the record show he said that with a straight face.

"I was actually standing up when he went down and I think I tripped over his skate and fell with him, kind of behind him and went in with him."

The play with Vanek has quickly turned Boychuk into a key villain among Sabres fans in the wake of Game Two and pulled some of that mantle away from his defense partner, 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara.

"Stuff happens and you have to take it as it comes," Boychuk said. "If I'm a villain, well, I don't really think I am."

"I don't pay attention to that all that much," Chara said. "So I can't really comment on that. I'm focused on my game and not on who's getting the loudest boos."

UPDATE: Coach Claude Julien absolved Boychuk a  few minutes ago during his press conference.

"He did a hockey play. It's pretty obvious and I don't want to dwell on this stuff but Vanek got hurt going into the boards. It was his left leg, not his right. He got hurt that way. It's one of the things that happens in the game of  hockey. We all have injuries on every team so let's turn the page  and move on with that. I don't think  he's overaggresive."

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

Game Two video report

News hockey writers John Vogl, Bucky Gleason and Mike Harrington wrap up Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Bruins from HSBC Arena and look ahead to Game Three Monday in Boston in this video report.


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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 | jvogl@buffnews.com

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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