That is exactly what we wanted;  A Sabres victory, physical play, solid goaltending, and contributions from every line.

I was surprised that Boston did not attempt to ‘run the Sabres out of the building’. They instead opted for consistent, defensive play and an opportunistic game.  Zdeno Chara wore a mask for a broken nose sufferd 2 games ago.  Who is that Bruins team?  They kept their mask on tonight.

High-fives were all around in Sabre-Land as Thomas Vanek opened playoff scoring with a playoff tally from the slot. Derek Roy earned his point, dangling the puck thru the neutral zone into the low slot & dropping it to a ‘stick-raised’ salivating Thomas Vanek, who buried it low far corner. Leaving no doubt. NHL.com says: ROY:"I knew (Patrice) Bergeron was trying to chip it to the point, so I tipped the puck and beat my defenseman," Roy said. "I didn't even see Thomas until the last second when I was about to shoot it. That's where communication comes into play. He yelled out and I looked back and saw him and laid it out for him and he made a nice shot." VANEK:"Bergeron and I battled a little bit and I tipped it to Roy," Vanek said. "I beat Bergeron up the ice. I yelled pretty loud at Derek, he dropped it and it went in, fortunately."

The 2nd period belonged to the Bruins and thanks to Ryan Miller they were allowed only a single goal.  Boston struck back in the 2nd in a predictable turn of events.  The PK left the Sabres open for a blistering series of Zdeno Chara slapshots, followed by a point-blank wrister from Old-Man Recchi that tied the match at 1.  ‘twas a high hard blast the met the cross-bar with fury.  A shot that should have never been allowed.  Zdeno Chara is an astonishing threat from the point.  Sabre forwards need to sac-up and lay down to block his shots.  On the goal, Tim Connolly passed up an opportunity to dive in front, thus allowing a clean shot, which Recchi picked up and drove home.  The shame of this is that some poor team, seeing these stats, will sign Mark Recchi next year.  That’s’s all I’m saying.

14:20 into the 2nd, Captain Craig Rivet buried a diagonal shot from the high face-off dot to make it 2 – 1 Buffalo.  The goal was assisted by rookie South Buffalo native Tim Kennedy. 

The 3rd period saw the Sabres come out with force & take the game to Boston.  Sabres fans were waiting for that 3rd goal that would secure victory.  But it never came.  Instead, Buffalo fans would have to sweat it out and endure to the end, Miller stood tall & made sure the fans went home happy.

The Sell-out crowd at HSBC got their $’s worth as the game was in question until the final 6.7 seconds.  The Bruins pulled Tuukka Rask with 1:17 left and gave it their all to tie it up.

Penalty-killing Presario, Mike Grier worked his magic & secured the Blue & Gold a 1 – 0 Series lead in the final seconds. 

Ryan Miller had 38 saves, which is a troubling statistic going forward for Sabre Nation.

The game was physical and chippy, seeing players like Toni Lydman get into the action.  The team as a whole responded extremely well to Boston’s intimidation tactics; not backing down, but also not taking any questionable retaliation calls.

In Buffalo’s favor:  Boston allowed the skilled Sabres lines, room to move.  If Buffalo’s top 2 lines are allowed this freedom, the goals will flow.

In Boston’s favor: Boston recorded 38 shots.  Ryan Miller is good, but those #’s will catch up to The Sabres if he continues to see 40 shots per game.

As a Sabre Fan I liked to see: Sabres scrappy play during & after the whistle.  Boston’s perceived advantage is their largesse & physical mismatches.  If this is neutralized(which it was tonight), the Sabres have a great chance of taking the series.

See you Saturday at 1pm.