BOSTON -- Lindy Ruff said he doesn't want his team to get outhit tonight, and it could make for an interesting opening shift. The Sabres' starting lineup was just announced with forwards Daniel Paille-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta, three guys who can rattle the boards.
Ruff this morning said center Tim Connolly's injury is not related to his concussion or vertebrae history. But the coach will not be divulging the exact nature of the ailment, which has Connolly out on a week-to-week basis.
"It’s an injury that I don’t want to explain," Ruff said. "It’s a tough one and I don’t want to explain it. I give him a lot of credit for muscling his way through one game [Friday]. If it was a groin injury, I’d tell you a groin because nobody’s going to go after his groin. If it’s an injury where I really think somebody could target, you don’t say anything."
7:15 p.m.: Less than three minutes in, it's 1-1. Turnovers cause both goals. Jason Pominville scores after Craig Rivet intercepts a pass. Then Henrik Tallinder gives it back with a terrible, terrible turnover. He had all day, yet still slowly rolled it to Blake Wheeler. Chuck Kobasew takes advantage.
7:17 p.m.: Derek Roy gives Sabres back their lead, winning a draw and deflecting Toni Lydman's shot from the point out of the air.
7:20 p.m.: What took so long to put Buffalo's best wingers together? The line of Pominville, Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht gets its second of the night as Vanek goes top shelf to make it 3-1.
Doesn't stay that way for long. Teppo Numminen sticks out his leg to block a shot, and it ricochets through Ryan Miller's pads. Five goals in just 5:38.
7:36 p.m.: Sabres are hitting, and Bruins are hitting back.
7:41 p.m.: Vanek scores his second, on the power play, with an ooooh-inspiring tip after tapping his stick to get Derek Roy's attention. But, as the early trend has been, the Bruins answer just 31 seconds later to make it 4-3.
We're on pace for a game that'll be, oh, about 16-15. And someone will miss wide right on a shootout to end it.
7:56 p.m.: As one veteran announcer just said to me, we've come to the end of one of the worst periods of hockey ever. It's 4-3 Buffalo. The passing has been awful, the defense has been shoddy, the goaltending has been shaky. But if you like goals, this is your game.
Just was reminded of the benefits of having the owner of Delaware North as the owner of the hockey team here: an ungodly amount of food at intermission. There are about 12 different desserts laid out. Too bad the lobster earlier filled me up. Maybe in the second intermission we'll dig into the cheesecake.
8:19 p.m.: It took the Bruins just 2:37 to tie the game at 4-4 on Zdeno Chara's blast from the point. Bruins look better this period.
8:28 p.m.: Something must be wrong. It's been about eight minutes without a goal. Still 4-4 with 9:32 to go. Hitting hasn't stopped, though.
9:27 p.m.: OK, the game story and notebook for the actual paper (which will ALWAYS be my first priority) are done, so here's a quick recap, since it's 7-4 Boston with 5:28 to go:
The Sabres played a pitiful game. You can't give up five-plus goals in four of six games and be any good. They're not, as their 1-4-1 record shows (provided they actually do lose this game). Too many turnovers. Poor goaltending. Bad luck. Miller is gone after seven goals on 20 shots.
At least that Vanek-Hecht-Pominville line started well.
Paul Gaustad: "It's disappointing. We have nowhere to point the finger except ourselves. It's hard work. It's hard work to cut down on chances. You can talk about it as much as you want. We talk it about too much. We have to execute."
Thomas Vanek: "When you win games, it's easy to pick out who's doing well and who's going good. We'll see now who's desperate, who can come and work hard tomorrow and carry that over into Friday."
Lindy Ruff: "We did a lot of good things in the first period. We had some individuals make some bad mistakes. ... The work that went into the first period, we should have walked out of there with a 4-1 lead."
Henrik Tallinder, who played just 5:49 and had the night's worst giveaway: "I saw Vanek. He was open there for a split second, but when I passed it he wasn't. I was late."
Ryan Miller on Chuck Kobasew's goal from behind the net: "It hit the side of the net, it hit Hank in the skate, bounced up and hit me in the ribs. It's just like, Can everything go wrong? ... We're not playing terrible. It's just all going wrong right now."
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