NHL Game Summary - Boston at Buffalo
(Saturday, April 17th)
Final Score: Boston 5, Buffalo 3
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Michael Ryder and Zdeno Chara scored two minutes apart early in the third period to put Boston ahead, and the Bruins held on to beat the Buffalo Sabres, 5-3, in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
The Bruins' victory evened the series and gave them an edge going home, as the best-of-seven set moves to Boston for the next two games. Game 3 is set for Monday.
Ryder and Chara each finished with two goals, while Mark Recchi scored an empty-netter in the final minute to secure the victory. Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for sixth-seeded Boston, which had dropped Game 1 on Thursday by a 2-1 score.
Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made 38 saves in Game 1, but he was beaten four times on 30 shots in Saturday's loss. Tyler Myers, Matt Ellis and Jason Pominville had the Sabres' goals.
On top of the setback, third-seeded Buffalo might have lost its leading goal- scorer, Thomas Vanek, who left in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.
The Sabres held a 3-2 lead after two periods, but the Bruins evened the game just over five minutes into the third.
Boston gained a 4-on-2 rush, and in trying to set up a shot, the puck went off the stick of the Bruins' Andrew Ference in the slot. Ryder was there to pick it up and shot it past Miller at 5:23.
A few minutes later, Chara had the puck at the left point and sent a rising shot toward the net. Miller was screened, and the puck went over his shoulder to the near side to make it a 4-3 Boston edge.
"We had a tough year overall, but its a whole new season come playoff time. It's definitely a good time to start scoring," said Ryder. "I think we have a lot of confidence now and doing a lot of things to create offense and get chances."
The Sabres made attempts over the final 12-plus minutes to even the contest, but Rask faced only six shots in the period and stopped them all. Then, after one failed look at an empty net, the Bruins sealed the victory when Recchi scored with 19.4 seconds left.
Buffalo got on the scoreboard first and generally controlled play in the first period. The Sabres took the lead only 2:55 in on Myers' goal, as the puck was deflected in front, flipped into the air and got past Rask.
Ellis made it a 2-0 game at the 12-minute mark on a backhander from the right circle, which squeezed by Rask and hit the left post to deflect in.
However, the Sabres suffered a big loss when Vanek left with his injury. He was racing up-ice on a rush when he was hit in the right leg by the stick of the Bruins' Johnny Boychuk, who was trailing by a stride. The pair slid into the end boards and Vanek eventually skated off the ice, apparently favoring his left leg.
With Vanek gone, Boston rallied in the middle period. At 2:35, Ryder scored on a similar play as the Myers tally, and the Bruins then pulled even at 9:54. Patrice Bergeron deftly redirected the puck from the slot to the left side, where Chara one-timed it past Miller.
"Trying to mix and match lines after that, we seemed to have lost a little energy there," Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought we got it back with eight minutes left in the second. It seemed pretty quiet, we didn't get much going on."
Buffalo re-claimed the lead about seven minutes after Chara's goal thanks to a Milan Lucic turnover deep in the Boston end. Sabres center Tyler Ennis collected the puck and sent it out front for Pominville, who placed a shot between Rask's shoulder and the post.
Vanek had a team-best 28 goals to go with 25 assists in the regular season...Blake Wheeler finished with two assists for Boston...Neither team scored on six total power play chances between the clubs.
04/17 19:14:32 ET