After a mediocre start to the season, the Boston Bruins need every point they can get to avoid falling behind in the marathon battle for a playoff spot. They endured a back-and-forth contest against the Buffalo Sabres Sunday night, but in the end the Bruins earned an important 4-3 overtime victory.
Buffalo was close to winning 3-2 when Dougie Hamilton gave the Bruins another chance with his second goal of the night at 18:29 of the third period:
In overtime, Milan Lucic passed the puck to Loui Eriksson as he entered the Sabres’ zone. With Buffalo’s defense split, Eriksson charged at Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth before shoveling it into the back of the net.
“I think it was a gut check… and I credit the guys for battling,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of the win, per the Bruins’ Twitter feed. He added, “Wins are tough to come by these days, so when you get ’em, you take ’em.”
At 17-14-3, Boston is just a point shy of Washington, which holds the second Wild Card spot. However, the Capitals have played in two less games. Meanwhile, Buffalo has now lost three straight contests as its stretch of 10 wins in 12 games slowly fades into the distance.
“We got stronger as the game went on,” Ted Nolan said, per the Sabres Twitter feed. “You couldn’t not be happy with the effort, only thing disappointed with is the outcome.”
Video: Bartkowski delivers controversial hit to Gionta, fights Foligno
This just in: the Boston Bruins are really struggling to score this season.
OK, that’s obviously not breaking news, but Boston’s scoring attack continued to sputter on Friday as the Winnipeg Jets edged them 2-1. For head coach Claude Julien, it’s all about keeping things simple.
“We passed up so many shot opportunities and looked for the cute plays,” Julien said.
You can throw out plenty of stats to depict the sometimes-dire offense from Boston, yet CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty shared one detail that sums things up quite nicely.
Julien said it wasn’t about a shaky start, yet it’s pretty clear that Boston didn’t match Winnipeg early on:
(Via Natural Stat Trick)
Ultimately, the Bruins won one game and lost in a shootout during its three-game road trip, generating three out of a possible six standings points. If anyone’s satisfied with that, they’d likely draw Julien’s scorn.
Yikes. The numbers get uglier if you stretch your view back to Nov. 22; the Bruins are 3-6-3 in their last 12 games.
One way or another, the Bruins need to shake out of this slump or Julien may be justified in worrying about April.
Tonight at midnight is the start of the NHL’s holiday roster freeze, which goes until Dec. 27 and keeps teams from trading, loaning, or waiving players.
So if the Boston Bruins are going to add a top-six right winger to play with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, as many believe they will and should, they’ll have to do it today or wait until the freeze ends.
Chances are, they’ll wait. Which is good, because it will give us more time to speculate about who they’ll add.
Buffalo’s Chris Stewart is one name that’s been out there for a while, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman named a couple more yesterday on FAN 590 radio.
According to Friedman, “in the right situation, T.J. Oshie is available” out of St. Louis.
This isn’t the first time Oshie’s name has been mentioned by a prominent member of the hockey media. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, among others, has raised the possibility.
Oshie, 27, is signed through 2016-17 for a cap hit of $4.175 million, raising the question of how the B’s would fit him in under the cap.
Which brings us to Vancouver’s Zack Kassian. While Friedman admits this is “a bit more of a longer shot,” Kassian’s $1.75 million cap hit is significantly lower than Oshie’s.
And hey, the Bruins have had success getting young power forwards out of Vancouver in the past, right?
Hockey insider Bob McKenzie discusses the trade rumors that are swirling in the NHL including the players that the Bruins are reportedly looking at. McKenzie notes that Boston has had interest in Sabres’ winger Chris Stewart.
Loui Eriksson’s overtime winner helped the Boston Bruins snap a three-game skid with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild Wednesday night.
With the goal, Eriksson joined some exclusive company.
Carl Soderberg and Kyle Brodziak exchanged first period goals 27 seconds apart.
Patrice Bergeron had the Bruins’ other goal while Jason Pominville tied the game 2-2 at 11:39 of the third.
Minnesota has now lost two straight and three of four.
Niklas Svedberg made 35 saves in the win while Niklas Backstrom stopped 22 shots in a losing cause.