Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk took out Thomas Vanek in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs and why Milan Lucic took out Ryan Miller in November, 2011.
And we now have evidence as to why the Sabres signed Big John Scott.
Buffalo left TD Garden last night with a 7-4 win, but maybe more importantly, they left with their lunch money. They went in, Scott "poked the Bear," and the team smoked the B's.
It's not that the Sabres haven't beaten the Bruins over the last few seasons, they have. And it's not like the win was some magical panacea.
What last night's game showed was that when their two best players can focus upon their game, they can be dominant.
Vanek had the hattie, showing three different ways to score--one-time slapper, re-direct in the slot and a backhand after some nifty front-door moves. He also made a beautiful pass to Tyler Ennis while getting cross-checked to the ice and banked a pass to himself in the neutral zone, skated in on the right wing on a two-on-one and fed a streaking Cody Hodgson for a one-timer that put the Sabres up for good. Three goals, two assists (both primary,) the game's first star, two five-point games this season and, now, a spot atop the NHL leaderboard in points (15.) Two words--en fuego.
Despite giving up four goals, Miller was outstanding.
Thanks to a Keystone Cops defense, Miller was standing on his head with Bruins in his face, but in the end he still managed to stop 38 of 42 shots (.905 sv%) on his way to being named 3rd star of the game.
As for Scott?
That's why they brought him in.
With the game nary three minutes old, Boston's enforcer Shawn Thorton said, "let's go." The two, who have a history, were said to have been jawing at each other pregame and it down went the gloves.
Scott was so dominant in the fight that all he could really do was express his concern that Thorton wasn't hurt too bad. Thorton would head to the locker room after serving his penalty and would not see the ice the rest of the game.
"I was asking our trainers how he’s doing. You never want to hurt somebody,” Scott said. “I was kind of concerned after the first period we never saw him again. So I still don’t know how he’s doing, hopefully he’s doing well. You hate to see someone leave the game like that.”
He also stared down the Bruins bench on the way to the box and told 'em, "that's one."
CBS Boston's Michael Hurley wrote a pretty sullen article on the incident, and the underlying current is that of concern.
Hurley called it "somewhat stunning" witnessing Thorton "decidedly lose a bout," while his teammates came to his defense. Forward Tyler Seguin stated the obvious by saying that "Thorty" took one for the team while goaltender Tuuka Rask augmented that by saying, "It takes some balls to fight a guy like that that’s two heads taller than you."
Yes, Tuuka, it sure does. Just ask the Sabres Patrick Kaleta.
Last year he took on Lucic, got pummeled and was ridiculed by Bahhhhstonians. But, he took one for the team, Boston got thrown off it's game and the Sabres went on to win.
The Sabres always could beat the Bruins on occasion, it just never seemed as if it was decisive.
Last night was decisive.
Just goes to show that when the Sabres two best players are allowed the luxury of focusing--thanks to Scott--they can do it in a convincing fashion, even against one of the toughest--if not THE toughest--team in the league.
Lindy Ruff called a timeout with 14 seconds left and the Sabres up by three goals.
Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to put a goon out there against Vanek, Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht. Apparently Ruff thought Julien was up to something.
After the time out, Ruff trotted out Scott and Marcus Foligno.
Oh my, how the Big, Bad Bruins can whine.
Said Brad Marchant, “Yeah, [Ruff] wants to be a big shot, and that’s not the best play to do. “That’s pretty disrespectful. If he wants to be like that, that’s fine. We just have to move on.”
Sheesh. If Ruff would've said something like this all of Bahhhhhston would've been mocking him.
Visit Puckdaddy for a nice encapsulation.
Nice work from WGR's Paul Hamilton noticing "a big difference in the Bruins" after Scott KO'd Thorton, 6:47-mark.