BUFFALO — Breaking news: Tim Thomas allowed two goals tonight.
But aside from strikes by Andrej Sekera and Drew Stafford, Thomas turned away every other puck to backstop the Bruins to a 5-2 win over Buffalo at HSBC Arena. Thomas has now won a team-record seven straight games to open the season.
The Bruins, up by three goals after 20 minutes, made it a 4-0 game at 2:11 of the second. Michael Ryder breezed down the right wing and slipped a bad-angle shot through Patrick Lalime.
Thomas was gunning for his fourth shutout, but had the bid spoiled at 16:39 of the second. Stafford jammed his own rebound past Thomas to make it a 4-1 game. Sekera scored a third-period goal, but Milan Lucic answered with an empty-netter.
Things got expectedly nasty in the second. Agitator Patrick Kaleta blasted Mark Stuart into the boards. Stuart didn’t care for the hit and cuffed Kaleta to earn a roughing minor. Cody McCormick came to Kaleta’s aid by jumping Stuart, who had time to shed his gloves. Both fighters landed solid punches. McCormick was tagged with an instigator penalty and a 10-minute misconduct at 11:57.
At 17:07, Kaleta struck again. After the whistle, Kaleta tapped Lucic from behind. Lucic responded by tagging Kaleta with a gloved right hand. Lucic was given a roughing minor. Kaleta was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and a 10-minute misconduct.
The Bruins stormed to a 3-0 lead in the first period, tucking two shorthanded goals behind No. 3 netminder Jhonas Enroth. Brad Marchand kicked things off by scoring his first NHL goal at 3:32. As the Sabres failed to have a man stationed at the left point, Marchand whirred away for an unchallenged attempt on Enroth. Marchand wristed a shot on goal that dribbled through Enroth to give the Bruins a 1-0 cushion.
The Bruins doubled their advantage with their second shorthanded strike. With Dennis Seidenberg serving a holding penalty, Marchand got the PK off to a good start with more pressure on Enroth. Marchand couldn’t break through, but on the next shift, Patrice Bergeron found the back of the net. Bergeron’s first attempt was blocked by Paul Gaustad. But Bergeron found his own rebound and whistled a wrister through Enroth at 14:54.
Enroth gave up what would be his final goal at 16:54. Blake Wheeler rooted himself into the ice in front of the net, took a feed from Ryder, and jammed the puck past Enroth to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead. Enroth was replaced by Lalime to start the second.
17:53 3d period: Bruins 5-2
Milan Lucic with the ENG. Goals from all four lines.
15:30 3d period: Bruins 4-2
Andrej Sekera puts in his own rebound.
6:55 3d period: Bruins 4-1
Tim Thomas looks like he got a piece of Derek Roy’s goal-line shot. Robbery if so.
6:20 3d period: Bruins 4-1
Two-man advantage for 37 seconds for Buff. Claude Julien not going to like all these penalties.
20:00 2d period: Bruins 4-1
Bruins will have 42 seconds remaining on Tyler Seguin’s hooking call to start the third. Bet there will be lots of empty seats after second intermission. All repairing to Duff’s for much-needed wings.
19:17 2d period: Bruins 4-1
Tim Thomas holding the fort amid heavy net-front pressure. Thomas Vanek right in Thomas’s kitchen.
17:07 2d period: Bruins 4-1
Patrick Kaleta strikes again. Kaleta approaches Milan Lucic after the whistle. Lucic responds by popping Kaleta with a gloved fist. Kaleta gets an unsportsmanliike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct. Good to see him away from the ice.
16:39 2d period: Bruins 4-1
There goes Tim Thomas’s fourth shutout. PP goal for Drew Stafford, who tucks in his own rebound.
11:57 2d period: Bruins 4-0
On cue, Patrick Kaleta gets things going. Kaleta hits Stuart. The defenseman responds by cuffing Kaleta. Cody McCormick challenges Stuart, and the two drop the gloves. Kaleta skates away a free man. Roughing/fighting for Stuart, roughing/fighting/10-minute misconduct for McCormick.
5:20 2d period: Bruins 4-0
Mark Recchi doesn’t care for a high hit by Tyler Myers (roughing). Adam McQuaid and Cody McCormick have post-whistle words.
2:11 2d period: Bruins 4-0
Michael Ryder breezes down the right wing and puts a sharp-angle shot by Patrick Lalime. Shouldn’t be a puck that goes in.
0:00 2d period: Bruins 3-0
Patrick Lalime in net to start the second.
20:00 1st period: Bruins 3-0
Lots of boos at HSBC Arena. Sure hope Patrick Kaleta doesn’t try any nonsense to get his boys fired up.
16:54 1st period: Bruins 3-0
Blake Wheeler, camped out in front of Jhonas Enroth, takes a feed from Michael Ryder and taps a shot in. Zero resistance from the Sabres.
14:54 1st period: Bruins 2-0
Another shorty for the Bruins. This time it’s Patrice Bergeron, whistling in his own rebound. Excellent work by Brad Marchand on the previous shift.
14:15 1st period: Bruins 1-0
Havoc in front of the net forces Dennis Seidenberg to take a holding penalty. As usual, Sabres crashing the net.
11:31 1st period: Bruins 1-0
Not exactly what you can call crisp hockey by either club. Puck management iffy at best.
3:32 1st period: Bruins 1-0
Brad Marchand gets on the board with a shorthanded goal. Nobody at the left point for Buffalo, which allows Marchand to get away without anybody in sight.
0:00 1st period: 0-0
Daniel Paille and Brian McGrattan are the healthy scratches.