Now we know how this team will respond without Bergeron, and I like it. On Thursday night the Bruins played the entire game, and played much better then Buffalo. Sometimes momentum was with the Bruins, sometimes it wasn't. No matter what the situation the Bruins played hard. It paid off.
The first period went by scoreless, and basically hitless. The only highlight prior to 8PM was both Red Sox World Series trophies from this millenium being on the ice. I can't speak for everyone else in Bruins Nation, but I was thrown back by the fact that I was in the same room as the World Series trophy. John henry then did the honorary opening face-off. It must have been embarrassing for Jeremy Jacobs when John Henry looked around and saw only 13,000 or so fans in the Garden.
The game got far more intense very early in the second period. On the power play, Glen Metropolit scored when his beautiful slap shot went past Ryan Miller. Then five minutes later, Phil Kessel's shot trickled through Miller and into the net. The Bruins had a 2-0 lead. Buffalo cut the lead in half at the end of the period, however, when Maxim Afinogenov took advantage of a screen and shot the puck by Thomas. Timmy couldn't see it, and the period ended 2-1.
Boston came out of the locker room pretty cold. Brian Campbell of the Sabres tied the game with his drive from the point on the power play. The Bruins, however, did not give up! 59 seconds later, the Bruins had a 2 on 1 in the offensive zone. Marc Savard had the puck, faked out the defensemen by looking to the left while holding onto the puck, and then released a shot right past Ryan Miller. Buffalo tied it up at 3 just a few minutes later, taking away all the cheers the Garden crowd was giving the Bruins. On the power play, good passing by the Sabres led to a very close shot by Gaustad that went in.
The third period ended with the game tied at 3. Overtime was incredible, and ended with 52.7 seconds left. Aaron Ward's drive was chipped into the net by Marco Sturm and the Bruins defeated the reigning Northeast division champions.
Although they won the president's trophy last year, Buffalo is a very different team. The real test is tonight in Ottawa, and Sunday in Boston against Ottawa.