Bruins Top Sabres, 3-1: Fan Reaction

The defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins won two in a row for the first time since January with a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on March 8. Johnny Boychuk scored his first goal since December to break a third period tie and lift the Bruins to their 40th win. Tim Thomas allowed fewer than three goals for the first time in four March starts, saving 19 of 20 to earn his 29th win against 15 losses. The Bruins maintain their three-point lead with three games in hand over the Ottawa Senators in the Northwest Division; they now sit at 40-23-3 for 83 points with just 16 games remaining in the regular season.

The Bruins kept pressure off Thomas early and held Buffalo to just two shots on goal through the first 12 minutes of the game. They never created sustained attacking zone pressure, but outplayed the Sabres in the opening period. Despite holding the Sabres to just two scoring chances, the Bruins gave up the only goal of the first period when Jason Pominville beat Thomas high glove-side at 3:25. Boston outshot Buffalo 13 to six, but trailed 1-0 through 20 minutes.

Joe Corvo created Boston's best scoring opportunity midway through the second period, but Jhonas Enroth stopped Tyler Seguin on a breakaway. Brad Marchand redirected a Dennis Seidenberg shot past Enroth, but drew the inside of the post and came up empty. The Bruins continued to double the Sabres in scoring chances through two periods and eventually caught a break. Shawn Thornton took advantage of a turnover in the Sabres' zone and launched a hard slapshot at the net; Gregory Campbell tipped it in for his seventh goal to even the score at the 18:09 mark.

Seguin rang the crossbar again five minutes into the third period. The Bruins eventually got over the hump and took their first lead as Jordan Caron created a scoring chance; Boychuk capitalized on a clean look and rocketed his fourth goal of the year at 12:56. Just under three minutes later, Seguin and Milan Lucic set up David Krejci on a rush for his 18th goal to make it 3-1 Boston.

The consecutive wins were well-earned and overdue. Boston enjoyed good contributions from each of its four forward lines and outplayed the Sabres all game long - something that has often been missing during the recent stretch of mediocrity. The new top line of Lucic, Krejci and Seguin has been responsible for ten goals in the last five games.

The Bruins return to action on Saturday, March 10, for the first-half of a back-to-back against the Washington Capitals. The Capitals entered the day winless through three games in March including two shutout losses.

Sources:

Buffalo at Boston, Thursday, March 8, 2012, NHL—Yahoo! Sports

Stats, NHL.com

William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.

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Updated Thursday, Mar 8, 2012