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Bruins blow third-period lead, lose to Sabres in shootout

04.17.13 at 10:18 pm ET
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Shawn Thornton and the Bruins took a turn for the worse Wednesday night. (AP)

The Sabres came from behind in the third period to eventually beat the Bruins, 3-2, in a shootout Wednesday night at TD Garden. Boston clinched a playoff berth by getting a point out of the contest.

With the B’s leading late, Cody Hodgson scored on a 6-on-4 with 48 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at two, making for the Bruins’ latest blown lead in the third period. The teams skated to a scoreless overtime period before Drew Stafford beat Anton Khudobin in the in the shootout to deliver the victory for Buffalo.

The Bruins got on the board in the first period on a goal from Daniel Paille, with Thomas Vanek tying the game with 1:20 remaining in the first. Paille then assisted on Chris Kelly‘s third goal of the season at 14:48 of the second to give Boston the lead.

Prior to the puck drop, fans watched and cheered through a slide show of pictures from the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings set to Phillip Phillips‘ “Home” before Rene Rancourt sand just the first 10 words of the national anthem and conducted the sold-out Garden crowd through the rest of it. Following the game, both teams stayed on the ice and saluted the Garden crowd at center ice.

The Bruins will next face the Penguins Friday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Andrew Ference took a delay of game penalty with 48.8 seconds remaining in the third period, allowing the Sabres the 6-on-4 opportunity on which Hodgson scored to tie the game.

- The Sabres went 2-for-6 on the man advantage. Both came during penalties to Boston penalty-killers (Zdeno Chara and Ference) and the B’s actually looked better shorthanded than Buffalo did on the power play at points, but the name of the game for the PK is keeping the opponent off the scoreboard.

- That wasn’t the only poorly timed penalty. Milan Lucic, who was skating on the fourth line, was putting the necessary work in out in front early in the third period, but he caught Adam Pardy in the face with a high stick as he was battling. That led to a double-minor, which wasn’t what he or the Bruins were looking for in the third period of a one-goal game. The Bruins got through it, however, allowing just one shot on goal to the Sabres over the four minutes.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

-  The B’s saw the return of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron from concussions, and the trio of Bergeron between Marchand and Tyler Seguin appeared to pick up where it left off prior to Bergeron’s injury. Bergeron, playing in his first game since April 2, won 11 faceoffs while losing just three and landed five shots shots on goal in regulation. Marchand and Seguin each had four shots on goal.

- The new third line of Kelly between Paille and Nathan Horton worked. Kelly did plenty of digging in the corner to get the puck in order to feed Paille in front on the Bruins’ first goal, and Paille returned the favor when he sent a pass off Kelly’s skate in front in the second period that Kelly gained control of and put past Ryan Miller.

- Speaking of Paille and Kelly, a few interesting numbers came about Wednesday night. After scoring his ninth goal, Paille now has as many goals in 40 games this season as he did in 69 games last season. He also had a 10th on two separate shorthanded bids in the third period. Kelly’s goal was the 100th of his career.

- Though the Sabres were on the power play for six of the first 10 minutes of the third period, the Bruins held a 14-5 shots on goal advantage in that span. For the night, the B’s outshot Buffalo, 43-32.

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