BOSTON – Well, that’s all folks.
Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal in the shootout as the Boston Bruins came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 before 17,565 at TD Garden in Buffalo’s final game of the 2011-12 season. Brad Boyes had two goals for the Sabres, and Jason Pominville scored to reach the 30-goal mark for the second time.
The Sabres finished the year with a record of 39-32-11, and will miss the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. This afternoon’s game had no bearing on the standings following Buffalo’s 2-1 loss in Philadelphia on Thursday.
“It’s disappointing. It’s not where we want to be. Our standards have to be a lot higher than where there are now,” said Pominville. “It’s a wasted season for the most part. Another year goes by, and not where we want to be. It’s really frustrating.”
After Boyes and Tyler Seguin traded second-period goals, the two teams combined to score four goals in a five-minute span midway through the third. Buffalo took a 3-1 lead on Boyes’ second of the night, followed by Pominville’s team-leading 30th of the season. Boston then rallied to tie the game at three on goals by Seguin and Brad Marchand.
Pominville has now reached the 30-goal plateau twice in his career, the first coming when he scored 34 times in 2006-07. It’s a milestone for Pominville that he can’t truly appreciate right now.
“It’s a nice plateau to hit. But it’s about the team, not about an individual. If you look at (Boston), the scoring is spread out and they’re winning. I don’t know if they had guys that hit that plateau or not, but they’ve got depth and they find ways to win. I would much rather have less goals and less points, and be on the winning side of things rather than where I’m at now.”
Making his first start since March 8 – also in Boston – Jhonas Enroth stopped 37 Boston shots, and two of the three Bruins in the shootout to finish the season with a record of 8-11-4 in 26 games played.
GAME NOTES: Brayden McNabb had two assists to record the second multipoint game of his career… Matt Ellis returned to the lineup after missing the previous 12 games with a knee injury, and won nine of 13 faceoffs… Tyler Myers (foot), Christian Ehrhoff (knee) and Alexander Sulzer (healthy-personal) were Buffalo’s scratches.
TRIPLE CROWN WINNER: Jason Pominville finished the season with a team-high 73 points, and becomes the eighth player in franchise history to lead the team in goals (30), assists (43) and points (73). He joins Thomas Vanek (2010-11), Miroslav Satan (2002-03, 2001-02), Donald Audette (2000-01), Pat LaFontaine (1995-96), Dale Hawerchuk (1993-94), Pierre Turgeon (1989090, 1988-89) and Gilbert Perreault (1976-77, 1977-78).
TEAM LEADERS: PPG- Vanek, 10 … SHG- Pominville, 2 … GWG- Pominville/Vanek, 5 … Shots- Pominville, 235 … PIM- Kaleta, 116 … Plus/Minus- Ennis, +11 … Hits- Regehr, 172 … Blocked Shots- Leopold, 128
SPECIAL TEAMS: Buffalo scored 44 power play goals this season, the second-fewest in franchise history, ahead of only the 37 scored (on 351 chances) in 1999-2000. The Sabres only had 258 power play opportunites, the fourth lowest single-season total in franchise history. The 258 man advantage chances are also 219 fewer than the single-season record of 477 set just six seasons ago in 2005-06.
The 47 power goals that Buffalo allowed this year are the 10th fewest in franchise history, well behind the record of 31 set back in 1977-78. That was also the same season they gave the opposition a franchise-low 218 power play opportunities. This season’s total of 257 are the sixth-fewest over the past 41 seasons.
ROAD WARRIOR: Cody Hodgson set an NHL record today by playing in his 48th road game of the season. The previous record of 47 was held by Darryl Sydor (1995-96) and Niklas Hagman (2005-06). Hodgson already broke the record for most road games by a player who spent part of the season in Buffalo, surpassing the 46 played by Mike Foligno in 1981-82.
MAN GAMES LOST: Buffalo’s final tally of 329 man games lost this season is the highest total since the Sabres began tracking man games lost in the 1998-99 season (previous high: 269 in 2003-04). A total of 22 different Sabres have missed at least one game with injury this season. The only two players to dress for every game this season were Jason Pominville and Jhonas Enroth.