At 6:08 of last night's second period, after seeing Tim Thomas give up his third goal on the 14th shot he saw, Claude Julien had seen enough. The Bruins coach pulled Thomas and replaced him with Tuukka Rask, hopeful that the rookie wouldn't let a 3-1 deficit get any worse.
Rask blanked the Sabres for the rest of the night and the Bruins made it a 3-2 game in the third. But Ryan Miller sparkled in the Buffalo goal, stopping 40 shots to lead the Sabres to a 3-2 win before 17,565 at TD Garden.
The Bruins came out roaring in the first period. Vladimir Sobotka set the tone early, tracking down 6-foot-7 Tyler Myers and dropping the rookie with an open-ice hit in the opening minute. Marco Sturm was hauled down by Craig Rivet at 3:20 and was given a penalty shot. But Miller came far out of his crease and stuffed Sturm's forehand shot.
The Bruins got on the scoreboard after Michael Ryder caused a turnover with a heavy forecheck. Zdeno Chara won a puck battle along the wall and slid a pass to David Krejci. The shifty center careened in on goal and drew Miller out of his crease. With Miller charging his way, Krejci turned, slipped the puck to his backhand, and tucked a shot behind the netminder at 7:43.
But the Sabres rallied with two goals off unfortunate bounces, both off Dennis Wideman. After Blake Wheeler failed to settle a rim along the boards, Myers flipped a long-distance wrister that skimmed off Wideman and beat Thomas at 9:56. Then after Thomas steered a Myers shot back into traffic, Paul Gaustad sent a backhander on goal that bumped off Wideman's leg and found the back of the net at 11:34.
All done at the Garden. Sabres, 3-2.
14:23 3d period: Sabres 3-2
Dennis Seidenberg's long-distance shot pops over Ryan Miller and dribbles over the line.
11:45 3d period: Sabres 3-1
David Krejci continues to sparkle, but playing with flat tires on his line.
2:30 3d period: Sabres 3-1
Derek Roy with the breakaway, and Tuukka Rask with the stop. Rask has to play every minute from here on out.
20:00 2d period: Sabres 3-1
Hard to see Ryan Miller giving up three goals in the third. Bruins so careless with the puck through 40 minutes.
18:57 2d period: Sabres 3-1
After a Dennis Seidenberg giveaway, Jason Pominville gets a breakaway on Tuukka Rask. The rookie stands tall.
18:13 2d period: Sabres 3-1
Derek Roy off for hooking.
17:56 2d period: Sabres 3-1
Ryan Miller bricks up the net and stops Mark Recchi's backhand attempt.
14:45 2d period: Sabres 3-1
Ryan Miller foils Marco Sturm.
9:13 2d period: Sabres 3-1
Hooking on Marco Sturm.
9:10 2d period: Sabres 3-1
Big-time stop by Ryan Miller on Zdeno Chara.
6:08 2d period: Sabres 3-1
Two mistakes by Dennis Seidenberg lead to Tim Kennedy beating Tim Thomas. Tuukka Rask replacing Thomas.
5:25 2d period: Sabres 2-1
Post-whistle flareup between Milan Lucic and Craig Rivet. No penalties.
3:47 2d period: Sabres 2-1
Tripping on Mark Mancari. First PP for the Bruins.
20:00 1st period: Sabres 2-1
Bad bounces on both Buffalo goals, but avoidable mistakes led to each strike.
11:34 1st period: Sabres 2-1
After Tim Thomas steers a rebound into traffic, Paul Gaustad backhands the puck into the net. Puck goes in off Dennis Wideman again.
9:56 1st period: 1-1
After Blake Wheeler fails to settle the puck along the wall, Tyler Myers flips a long-distance shot that beats Tim Thomas. Looked like it skimmed off Dennis Wideman.
7:43 1st period: Bruins 1-0
David Krejci fakes right, gets Ryan Miller out of the crease, then tucks a backhander behind the goalie. Slick, slick stuff. Play starts with a Michael Ryder forecheck and Zdeno Chara winning a wall battle.
7:05 1st period: 0-0
Ryan Miller covers the puck. Bruins all over Miller so far.
3:20 1st period: 0-0
Ryan Miller comes way out and shuts down Marco Sturm's bid.
3:20 1st period: 0-0
Penalty shot for Marco Sturm, who's dragged down by Craig Rivet.
1:05 1st period: 0-0
Vladimir Sobotka launches himself into Tyler Myers and drops the big rookie.
0:00 1st period: 0-0
Trent Whitfield and Brad Marchand are the healthy scratches.