The Bruins must avoid Don Cherry's biggest gaffe.

WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins have Drew Stafford to thank for Buffalo’s too-many-men penalty that led to Miro Satan’s game-winning goal in double-overtime Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, they shouldn’t gloat too much because the next victim of the dreaded call could be one of them.

Officials are making the too-many-men call at a pace of once every two games, twice as much as the regular-season rate.

The Bruins, who were whistled 12 times for the violation in the regular season, have been spared so far in the playoffs. So they have to be extra careful now not to hand Buffalo a power play the Sabres didn’t earn.

“I think we might have set an NHL record for too-many-men-on-the-ice penalties this year,” said forward Blake Wheeler, resorting to a bit of hyperbole. “So to have it go the other way and cash in on it is sort of ironic. But that’s something that you just can’t let happen. That’s a penalty that’s completely avoidable and that’s something that as a team it breaks your heart, especially in overtime, to have a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.”

Winger Milan Lucic is an avid watcher of other NHL series, including the one involving his hometown Vancouver Canucks, who lost a game in overtime after the too-many-men call was made.

“Well you’ve got to be smart and you’ve got to know your guy and keep a close watch on your guy when he’s coming off the ice. Obviously, they’re costly penalties,” said Lucic. “You look at last night’s game and the Canucks Game 2, they take another too-many-men penalty, in overtime, that LA capitalized on. They’re just penalties that you’ve just got to stay sharp and they can end up killing you in the end.”

The Bruins’ penalty kill has been airtight this series, but they can’t stay perfect forever. So making sure that a bench minor doesn’t add to Buffalo’s opportunities to break through would be a wise move as this series nears its conclusion.