Between tonight and Jan. 20, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien have one task: create a goaltender that can stop Buffalo Sabres “sniper” Drew Stafford.
With his second hat trick of the season against Boston in tonight’s 7-6 shootout win by the Sabres in Buffalo, Stafford has now scored seven of his 13 goals on the season with the Bruins as the opposition.
Neither Tim Thomas nor Tuukka Rask could stop the 25-year-old winger. Stafford’s first goal of the night came late in the first period and was the last one Rask allowed. Rask, pulled for the first time in his NHL career, had allowed Stafford’s hat trick Dec. 15.
Thomas, on in relief tonight, couldn’t stop Stafford in regulation or in the shootout, which Buffalo won, 3-2.
The Stafford eruption and some poor goaltending spoiled a historic night for the Bruins, who received goals from four different defensemen. According to Elias, that’s the first time in club history four different blueliners scored in one game.
When you score six goals against All-World Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller, you should win. But not when your own goaltending turns Drew Stafford into Gilbert Perreault. So the Bruins have three weeks to figure out how to put the clamps on Stafford.
Here’s a glance at the box score:
•Rask allowed three goals on 16 shots before departing after one period. Thomas made just 16 saves on 19 shots and then surrendered three shootout goals on three attempts. Thomas has now stopped just nine of 17 shootout attempts this season — an ugly 47-percent success rate. The league average is in the 65-70-percent range.
•With a goal and an assist, Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin registered his first multi-point game of his NHL career. Seguin also scored in the shootout.
•All six Bruins defensemen recorded at least one point.