The Bear Cave

January 30, 2010 3:51 AM

Another One-Goal Game, and Another Frustrating Loss

Last season, the Boston Bruins had lots of success putting the puck in the net, scoring a total of 274 goals, which was the second most in the entire NHL. This season has been the exact opposite for the Bruins, who have struggled mightily to light the lamp. In fact, Boston entered Friday night's game with the fewest goals in the league, potting just 127.

On Friday night in Buffalo, the Bruins' defense had a strong outing overall, limiting the hometown Sabres to two goals on 23 shots. Unfortunately, the offensive woes continued, as Boston fell short, scoring once on 31 shots against Ryan Miller. The 2-1 loss to Buffalo at HSBC Arena gives the Bruins a mark of 1-8-1 in their last ten games, including five straight defeats with a combined total of six goals.

The contest did not get off to the greatest start for the visitors, as the Sabres needed a little more than four minutes to open the scoring. Clarke MacArthur and Dennis Wideman battled for possession in the right corner of Buffalo's offensive zone, with Paul Gaustad digging the puck free for Tyler Myers at the point. Myers dished a pass across the blueline, setting up Henrik Tallinder on the left side. Tallinder tossed a wrist shot in on goal, beating a screened Tuukka Rask on his glove side.

In the latter stages of the opening stanza, Boston ran into penalty trouble, picking up consecutive minors. The Bruins' penalty kill was successful in shutting down Buffalo's first two power plays, but the third penalty was the charm for the home team. David Krejci tried lifting the puck out of the defensive zone, but Chris Butler kept the play alive at the blueline. After a quick exchange with Tim Connolly, Butler fired a one-timer in on goal. Butler's shot was blocked in front, but Thomas Vanek was there to clean up the garbage, backhanding the rebound in past Rask.

All in all the Bruins played a decent first period, outshooting the Sabres 13-10. However, the scoreboard is the only thing that matters in hockey, and that had Buffalo with a 2-0 lead.

The play slowed down in the second period, but halfway through the game, Boston cashed in with a goal. Zdeno Chara started the play in his own zone, sending Marc Savard ahead through center ice. After crossing the blueline, Savard glided to his right, leaving a pass off for Milan Lucic in the middle of the offensive zone. Lucic stepped in toward the puck, ripping a wrist shot past Ryan Miller for his third goal of the season. Two of Lucic's three tallies this season have come against Miller and the Sabres in Buffalo.

Shortly after the goal, the Bruins lost some of their momentum, as David Krejci was flagged for high sticking. Boston did successfully kill the penalty, keeping the Sabres off of the scoreboard during the middle frame. Shots on goal in the second period were 8-6 in favor of Buffalo, with the home team carrying a 2-1 lead into the locker room.

Feeling some desperation, Boston really turned on the heat during the third period. With 8:56 left in regulation, the Bruins finally got their first and only power play of the evening, as Derek Roy received a minor for tripping. However, Miller was more than ready, as he kept the visiting team at bay. Boston outshot Buffalo 12-5 in the third period, but was unable to get the equalizer, as the Sabres held on for the 2-1 victory.

Ryan Miller continued his strong play in goal for the Sabres, making 30 saves on 31 shots for the win. The way Miller has played this season, he seems like the favorite to be Team USA's starting goaltender at the Olympics. Tuukka Rask only allowed two goals on 23 shots for the Bruins, but came up short, getting saddled with another frustrating loss.

At the AHL level, the Providence Bruins also ran into a strong goaltender on Friday night, as they fell 2-0 to the Manchester Monarchs at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Geoff Walker and Jon Rheault scored in the third period for the Monarchs, giving Jonathan Bernier all of the support that he needed. Bernier made 34 saves in the shutout, defeating Dany Sabourin, who turned aside 23 of the 24 shots he faced.

The Boston Bruins will look to put an end to this current slump on Saturday, as they will play host to the Los Angeles Kings. The Providence Bruins will also be looking to right the ship on Saturday as they begin a home-and-home series with the Springfield Falcons on the road.

Scoring Summary:

1. BUF Tallinder (3) (Myers, Gaustad) 4:01
1. BUF Vanek (16) (Butler, Connolly) (PP) 17:32
2. BOS Lucic (3) (Savard, Chara) 10:03

Penalty Summary:

1. BOS Thornton- Roughing 5:47
1. BOS Sobotka- Interference 13:26
1. BOS Savard- High Sticking 16:29
2. BOS Krejci- High Sticking 12:18
3. BUF Roy- Tripping 11:04

BOS Tuukka Rask (10-7-2): 23 shots, 21 saves
BUF Ryan Miller (29-11-5): 31 shots, 30 saves

Shots on Goal:
BOS 13-6-12=31
BUF 10-8-5=23

Power Plays:
BOS 0-for-1
BUF 1-for-4

Three Stars of the Game:
1- BUF Ryan Miller
2- BUF Thomas Vanek
3- BOS Marc Savard

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