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Friday, February 15, 2013
Observations: Sabres 4, Bruins 2

By James Murphy



The Bruins blew a 2-1 lead in the third period, giving up three unanswered goals to the Sabres in a 4-2 loss at Buffalo. Seemingly in command while ahead by only one goal thanks to the play of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30 saves), the Bruins fell apart by allowing three straight goals to Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff and Cody Hodgson. Drew Stafford also scored on Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin, who made 22 saves.

Dougie Hamilton scored his first NHL goal and added an assist on a second-period Rich Peverley goal. David Krejci and Tyler Seguin also had helpers in the losing effort.

Bruins collapse late instead of starting slow: So many times this season, the Bruins have waited until late in the second period or into the third period to put their collective pedal to the medal and turn their game up a notch. A prime example was Tuesday's game against the Rangers, when Boston scored three unanswered goals in the third period to force extra time, before losing 4-3 in the shootout. Friday was the total opposite as the Bruins played a complete game for the first 40 minutes, taking a 2-1 lead into the final frame and then seeming to lay back and let the play come to them. The bottom line? Whether it's a lack of effort to begin or end the game, the Bruins aren't giving their all for three periods lately, and that needs to change.

Miller unfazed by Bruins: Following practice on Thursday, Gregory Campbell told ESPNBoston.com that the Bruins needed to make things more difficult for Ryan Miller. They did that to an extent but not enough for a goalie who, right now, seems to be the only reason his team has any chance of salvaging what has been a horrendous start to the season. Despite the Bruins slipping two past him, Miller remained unfazed. His teammates fed off his play in staging a comeback they desperately needed. If teams are to beat Miller, they need to keep the pressure on him throughout the whole game.

Dougie Hamilton
Dougie Hamilton scored his first NHL goal and added an assist, but it wasn't enough for the B's in Buffalo.
Hamilton looks like a veteran again: Hamilton's power-play goal was a thing of beauty. After a few so-so games, the rookie defenseman looked like a poised veteran rearguard once again. Hamilton started that scoring play and then finished it with a rifle past a screened and out-of-position Miller. Hamilton also had a helper on Peverley's go-ahead goal 2:29 into the second period. The youngster is starting to make a strong case for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

Seguin looks better: Plenty of criticism has been heaved at Tyler Seguin lately, but on Friday, Seguin looked to be skating harder, sacrificing his body more and using his offensive instinct to create chances for the Bruins. A perfect example of that was his assist on Hamilton's goal. Seguin helped move that puck around and was in the right place to make the play happen.

Lucic making his presence felt: Milan Lucic was everywhere in this game. He was getting back in the defensive zone as well as helping the transition out by skating hard down the wing and using his size to push the play. Lucic has admittedly had his periods of inconsistency over the past few seasons, but thus far, he seems to be on a mission and skating hard. With his size and presence, that can mean nothing but good things for the Bruins.

Lines stay the same: Despite some calls from the media and fans to have Seguin with Krejci and Lucic, Julien stuck with the same lines. It wasn't surprising, considering Seguin is struggling at both ends of the ice right now, and keeping him with Patrice Bergeron can only help him settle his game down and get back to basics. Here's what the lineup looked like:

Forwards
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Greg Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Defense
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Goalies
Anton Khudobin
Tuukka Rask