Jason Pominville scored twice and Ryan Miller stopped all 36 shots he face in posting his third shutout of the season as the Buffalo Sabres blasted the Boston Bruins, 6-0, Wednesday night at the First Niagara Center. The game was a chippy affair and featured 90 penalty minutes, 57 of which were assessed against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
It was a bit of an extraction of revenge for Miller, who was injured when he was steam-rolled by Milan Lucic in a late-November Bruins' victory. Miller improved his lifetime record against Boston to 21-6-7 with Wednesday's win.
Buffalo scored a pair of goals in each period, beginning fairly early in the opening frame.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff opened the scoring with a blue line snap shot that appeared to deflect off of the stick of Gregory Campbell and found its way over the glove of starter Tuukka Rask and into the far side top corner for his fourth goal of the season at 6:23 of the first period.
Boston appeared to have tied the game at the 8:20 mark when Lucic tipped a shot past Miller in front of the crease. But the Sabres caught a huge break when officials determined that Rich Peverley had interfered with Miller's ability to make the save. Peverley was clearly outside the blue paint during the entire sequence, but the call was consistently bad with so many recent disallowed goals throughout the League.
The turn of good fortune seemed to spur on the home team and left the Bruins in a foul mood the rest of the way.
Pominville notched his first of the evening and 18th of the season a little over six minutes later for a 2-0 lead at the first intermission, and the Sabres never looked back.
Tyler Ennis tallied his fourth of the year early in the middle stanza and Patrick Kaleta added his fifth late in the second before Pominville (second of the night and 19th of the season) and Drew Stafford (his ninth) put the exclamation point on the rout for Buffalo in the third.
The Ennis goal chased Rask at 1:52 of the second, as 24-year-old Finn stopped 16 of the 19 shots in seeing his record fall to 11-7-2. Tim Thomas didn't fare any better, as he made just seven saves on 10 Sabres' shots.
Miller evened his record at 15-15-3. After a very disappointing first four months of the campaign he has posted a 4-0-1 mark in his last five decisions, yielding just five goals in that span and notching shutouts in two of his last three outings.
The recent victories have pulled Buffalo out of the Eastern Conference cellar and have them currently in the 12th spot, nine points behind the slumping Ottawa Senators, who have been in a free fall, losing their last seven (0-6-1).
After posting a scorching 25-4-1 mark in a 30-game stretch to effectively nullify an awful 3-7-0 start to the season, Boston has come back down to earth as of late. The Bruins are just 2-4-0 in their last six games and 5-6-1 over the last 11. Currently holding a six-point margin over second-place toronto, the B's play their next two contests at home against tough competition (Nashville and the Rangers), before embarking on a six-game road trip that includes visits to the lairs of three division rivals (Montreal, Buffalo, Ottawa).
The Sabres and Bruins meet three more times during the year -- February 24 in Buffalo is the next, before playing the final two at TD Garden, including on the last day of the regular season.