In their first game back from the lengthy Winter Olympic break, the Boston Bruins looked rusty during the first period and a half of Wednesday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins seemed to right the ship and were a minute away from leaving Buffalo with another come-from-behind victory. Then in the blink of an eye the Bruins were left wondering what just happened.
Matt Moulson sent the game into overtime with just 53 seconds remaining in regulation, and Matt D'Agostini ended the game just 22 seconds into extra time, as the Sabres beat the Bruins 5-4. Moulson scored his goal when his pass to teammate Drew Stafford was blocked by Johnny Boychuk. The puck went right back to Moulson, who tried to shoot it into the vacated Bruins net as goalie Chad Johnson had slid over to defend the anticipated pass. Moulson's shot went off the post and deflected off of Johnson's back into the Bruins' net for the game-tying goal. The Sabres had pulled their goalie Jhonas Enroth prior to the play, giving Buffalo a man-advantage for the final moments of the game.
D'Agostini broke free into open ice, beating two Bruins defenders before faking out Johnson with a backhand move for the game-winning goal. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was in the offensive zone, firing a shot on net that ended up on the stick of teammate Loui Eriksson. Eriksson tried to send a cross-ice pass back to Chara at the point, but the puck was intercepted by Buffalo's Steve Ott, who saw D'Agostini breaking into open ice. D'Agostini took the puck in on Johnson on his forehand, waiting until the last second to switch to the backhand side to find an opening to win it for the Sabres.
The Bruins dug themselves a hole during the first half of the game, going down 3-1 at the halfway point of the second period. Buffalo started the scoring just 3:32 into the first period on a goal from Zemgus Girgensons, and then added two second period goals by Tyler Myers and Brian Flynn to take a two goal lead. The lone Boston goal in the first period was from Chris Kelly, assisted by linemate Carl Soderberg and Matt Bartkowski.
Boston got their comeback started just two minutes after Flynn's goal put Buffalo up 3-1. The Bruins went on the power play after a hooking penalty against Girgensons, and the B's capitalized with Chara notching his team-leading ninth power play goal to cut the lead to one goal. Torey Krug fired a slap shot in on Enroth, with both Chara and Milan Lucic jamming the net. Both Lucic and Chara tried to stuff in the rebound, with Chara scoring his 14th goal of the year.
The Bruins tied the game with 2:14 left in the second on the 20th goal of the year by Brad Marchand. Reilly Smith stole the puck from Sabres defenseman John Scott from behind the Buffalo net and found Marchand for a wrist shot past Enroth. Marchand is the first Bruins' player to hit the twenty goal mark this season, and has 17 goals in his last 33 games after starting the year in a lengthy goal-scoring slump.
Boston took the lead on another power play opportunity, with Chris Kelly getting a high stick to the face by Moulson, putting the Bruins on a four-minute man-advantage. The combination of Krug and Lucic cashed in again on the power play. Krug had multiple shots on net in the sequence, taking the puck behind the net while Chara and Jarome Iginla were occupying the front of the Buffalo net. Enroth tried to stop Krug from going behind the net, but in the process vacated his net. As he scrambled to get back into net, Krug came around the net and found Lucic for a slap shot blast that beat Enroth to give the B's a 4-3 lead. It looked like Lucic's 18th goal of the year would be the game-winner for Boston until the dramatic goals by Moulson and D'Agostini to end the game.
Chad Johnson made 21 saves in net for Boston, while Enroth had 29 saves in net for Buffalo. Johnson got the start in net instead of Tuukka Rask, who was given the night off after winning a bronze medal for Finland at the Winter Olympics. Enroth was in net after starter Ryan Miller got the win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.