The Saturday night meeting between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres came down to one play, or more specifically one call. With 2:28 remaining in overtime, Bruins forward Brad Marchand stole the puck from Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The two skaters became entangled as they jousted their way towards the net, fighting for the puck. A penalty was called by ref
eree Brad Watson and Boston was awarded a rare OT penalty shot.
With the game on his stick, Marchand did not disappoint, fooling goalie Robin Lehner with a backhand beauty to score the organization’s first ever overtime penalty shot. The TD Garden erupted as the Bruins celebrated their 28th win and Marchand’s team leading 24th goal of the season.
The team’s excitement carried over into the locker room as players recalled the intense finish. “It’s so exciting,” defenseman Joe Morrow said. “You can hear the crowd cheering beforehand, and it’s so loud in the building. I don’t know. If it was me, I would have lost the puck a bunch of times. I wouldn’t have even gotten a shot off. But it’s so exciting seeing that on the bench, and even after he scores and the building erupts, it’s a pretty unique feeling. You can’t match that anywhere else.”
Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, also brought his raw emotions about the call to the post game presser. “I’m an honest guy. I like both of those refs,” he said referring to Watson and Dave Jackson. “They’re good refs but that was … oh, my God I don’t know what to say even. That’s just embarrassing. I hope he’s embarrassed. I’m embarrassed. It shouldn’t end like that. The disappointing thing is I might get fined or whatever but it’s just embarrassing.”
Marchand on the other hand, didn’t find the call all that surprising, “Not really, no,” the winger said. “I mean, he didn’t have a stick, and I think he grabbed me there, so I think by the new rules it warrants a penalty shot. And it was nice that they gave it to us.”
While many expect Marchand and the Bruins to continue their hot streak, few see Buffalo doing anything more than complaining to officials about their overused whistles.