Buffalo 4 – Boston 2
Friday, February 15, 2013
First Niagara Center
For the first 40 minutes against the Boston Bruins on Friday, the Buffalo Sabres looked to be battling the same demons that have plagued them all season. That all changed in the third period.
The Sabres scored three times in the final period to hand the Bruins a 4-2 defeat at First Niagara Center. Drew Stafford scored his first goal of the season and added an assist, while Ryan Miller stopped 30 shots to pick up the victory. The win ended a two-game losing skid for the Sabres, improving them to 6-8-1 on the year. The victory was just Buffalo’s second in eight attempts this season when trailing after two periods. It was also Boston’s second regulation loss (8-2-2), with both coming at the hands of the Sabres.
The Sabres broke a shutout streak of 75:49 when Drew Stafford scored his first of the season just 3:24 into the contest. Tyler Ennis’ pass from behind the net found Stafford all alone in the slot, and he buried the one-timer past Boston goaltender Anton Khudobin for his first goal in 17 games dating back to last season.
Another memorable first evened the score at 1-1, as Boston’s Dougie Hamilton unloaded a 46-foot slapshot on the power play for his first career NHL goal at 17:56. Hamilton played his junior hockey with the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs, and the Toronto-native had a large gathering of friends and family in attendance to see his milestone goal.
Rich Peverley put the Bruins up by one early in the second thanks to a fortuitous bounce off the end boards. Hamilton’s shot from the point was five feet wide of the Buffalo net, but it caromed right into the slot where Peverley made no mistake converting his second of the year. The Sabres were outshot 17-6 in the second period, but were held in the game thanks to several big saves by Miller.
Despite a sloppy second period where the Sabres generated little offense, they battled back to tie the game just 2:03 into the third. After Jochen Hecht was robbed by Khudobin on a one-time attempt, Tyler Myers followed up the play and backhanded the rebound into the open net. It was Myers’ second goal of the year, and first since the season opener on January 20.
Christian Ehrhoff gave the Sabres their first lead of the night just under seven minutes later on what would be the eventual game winner, capitalizing on a lazy Boston clearing attempt. After both Khudobin and Peverly both failed to clear the puck up the middle, Ehrhoff scooped up the loose puck in the slot and ripped a wrist shot past the Bruins’ netminder. Ehrhoff also had an assist in the game, and finished a team-high plus-three.
Cody Hodgson added an insurance marker for the Sabres at 11:45, tapping home Myers’ pass from the corner to make it 4-2. It was Hodgson’s sixth of the year, and first since February 3 against Florida.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Drew Stafford scored his first goal in 17 games, with the last coming on March 31, 2012 at Toronto… Four Sabres recorded multi-point games… Steve Ott led the Sabres with 11 hits, including nine through the first two periods… Christian Ehrhoff was the only Buffalo skater to play more than 20+ minutes of ice time… Thomas Vanek was held pointless for the third game in a row. This is the first time he’s been held off the scoresheet in consecutive games since Mar. 12-17, 2012… 266th game all-time between Buffalo and Boston; Buffalo has a 116-110-40 series record; Sabres are 71-42-21 all-time against the Bruins at home… Buffalo is 5-1-1 in their last seven home games vs. Boston; 18-3-5 at home against the Bruins since the 2005-06 season… The Sabres have faced the Bruins more than any other team in franchise history… The Sabres are 9-4-2 all-time on Feb. 15… The Sabres are now 4-4-1 against the Northeast Division this season.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS:
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 26:58
Shots: Drew Stafford, 5
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff, 5
Hits: Steve Ott, 11
Faceoff Wins: Ennis/Ott, 6
Total Faceoffs: Cody Hodgson, 15
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
* Scoring first: 5-3-0
* Tied after the first period: 4-5-1
* Trailing after the second period: 2-5-1
* Outshot by an opponent: 4-7-0
Overall: 7/55, 12.7%
Home: 6/25, 24%
Overall: 51/63, 80.1%
Home: 17/24, 70.8%
* Sunday vs. Pittsburgh, 12:30 p.m.
* Tuesday vs. Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
* Thursday at Toronto, 7 p.m.