OUTCOME: The Sabres had control from the opening drop until the final buzzer and finished with a 4-1 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Friday night at HSBC Arena. The Bruins still hold a 3-2 lead in the series. Adam Mair, Jason Pominville, Michael Grier and Tyler Ennis (empty-net goal) scored for the Sabres. Johnny Boychuk scored a power-play goal for the Bruins at 17:30 of the third period.
TURNING POINT: Twice in this series the Bruins recovered from a two-goal deficit, and both times -- Games 2 and 4 -- it resulted in victories. That wasn’t the case in this one, especially when Grier netted the Sabres’ third goal of the game at 9:22 of the second period. Boston couldn’t recover.
DECISION OF THE DAY: Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said he had a hunch when he decided to insert former Boston College star Nathan Gerber into Buffalo’s lineup for Game 5. Playing in his first NHL playoff game, the 5-foot-6, 160-pounder wasted little time helping out when he assisted on Adam Mair’s goal at 1:54 of the first period. Ruff was hoping Gerber would add a scoring punch, and he did.
THAT’S USING YOUR HEAD: With the Sabres holding a 3-0 lead in the third period, the Bruins finally created an offensive barrage on Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller. Boston had control and was firing shots at Miller. The puck came out to the high slot when Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman teed one up and blasted a slap shot. The Sabres’ Michael Grier went down to block the shot and caught it in the side of the head. Even before the play was whistled dead with 11:11 remaining, Miller was calling for the referee to stop play because Grier remained on the ice, holding his head. Fortunately, he was able to skate off the ice on his own and went directly to the locker room. He did return to the game.
UP NEXT: The series shifts back to Boston for Game 6 at 7 p.m. Monday at TD Garden. If a Game 7 is needed, it will be back here at HSBC Arena on Wednesday.