The Buffalo Sabres surged to beat the Bruins 3-1 today and to tie the series at one apiece. It was a very physical match and both goalies made portentous saves to keep the game close.
The Sabres played an incredible first period, putting 17 shots on Bryon Dafoe and keeping the pressure on the young goaltender the entire period. Mick Peca, got a perfect pass from Curtis Brown and quickly one-timed it past Dafoe with only 1:51 gone by in the first period.
After that goal, the Sabres really turned it on, drilling Dafoe left and right, but the Boston contender for the Vezina stood firm and made some outstanding saves.
I thought our first period was fabulous," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said during the post-game conference. "We opened up the gates and just kept coming. We had both (defensemen) pinching, just an all-out attack. We could have come out of that period three or four goals up instead of just one."
In the second period, the Sabres had a two-man advantage and couldn't get one past Dafoe when Brown waltzed in to Dafoe's left and put one through his legs to make the score 2-0. From then on, the Sabres seemed content to protect the lead and go into a defensive shell. That almost cost them the game, as the Bruins stormed the Sabres in the remainder of the second and third periods, out shooting Buffalo 12-6 in both. In the third, the Sabres took a lot of ill-timed penalties and were shorthanded numerous times. Richard Smehlik took a terrible penalty as did Joe Juneau with a little over two minutes remaining in the game.
Mr. Plastic Hairdo was refereeing the game and he was his usual controversial self. He kept calling penalties in bunches, and usually against the same team. The Sabres had several two-man advantages in the second period and scored on one of them when Brown scored his goal. But in the third, Fraser turned the tables and had the Sabres 2-men short a couple times.
After a relatively easy first period, Dominik Hasek had to come up big time and again in the last two periods. He faced 24 for shots during that time span and only one power play shot got past him. Were it not for his heroics, the Bruins could have easily taken a 2 games to none lead in this series. The teams resume play again this Wednesday when they play in Buffalo. Buffalo must resume the pressure they put on Dafoe in game three like they did in the first period today. They must not get into the defensive shell mode if they want to take a lead in this series.