BUFFALO — The Bruins did their jobs pretty well Wednesday night. Unfortunately, John Scott did his, too.
The setup for the Bruins was obvious to all: It might have been easy for them to look past the lowly Buffalo Sabres and ahead to Thursday night’s Garden date with the mighty San Jose Sharks.
But the Bruins avoided that trap quite professionally, outclassing the disorganized Sabres, 5-2, to improve to 4-0-0 on the road as Milan Lucic and Torey Krug each scored twice and Dougie Hamilton once, while backup goalie Chad Johnson stopped 14 shots in his fairly easy debut.
The night should have come to its inevitable conclusion, quiet and uneventful, but did not, thanks to Scott. With his team en route to its seventh successive loss at home, the massive, goonish Scott dropped Loui Eriksson with a blindside shoulder to the head early in the third period. Eriksson suffered a concussion, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Thursday.
“The guy who did it, did his job,” B’s coach Claude Julien of Scott. “He’s out there for two reasons: Either to fight, or to hurt. He did his job.”
Said Chiarelli on Thursday: “Loui traveled back to Boston from Buffalo by plane (Thursday) with a member of the Bruins medical staff. After an examination by team doctors in Boston, he has been diagnosed with a concussion and will be out indefinitely. The team will provide a further update on Loui’s status when appropriate.”
According to NHL.com, Scott will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Julien hinted that some in Buffalo might see the hit as some kind of retaliation for the incident in which Lucic plowed over Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in November 2011.
“It’s going to be something that I’m sure people will try to use as a (Ryan) Miller example,” Julien said. “I’m not sure Lucic is necessarily a three-minute guy (like Scott.)”
Adam McQuaid immediately took on Scott in a fight, and it looked as though Zdeno Chara wanted to, also. Scott earned a match penalty, and it’s a safe bet will be hit with a multi-game suspension.
To their credit, the Bruins finished the game strongly, with Krug scoring his second of the night during the Scott penalty.
“We needed to score on that and we did,” Julien said. “We kept playing our game right to the end. We’ve got some important things going on; we have to focus on that and we had to finish the job here. Right now our guys are pretty focused, a pretty determined group. These are not always the easiest games to play.
“I give (the Sabres) some credit, because they played hard. We really had to earn our goals. It was one of those games where we had to find a way and our guys did a good job of that.”
At 11:01 of the first period, Lucic got a little piece of a quick shot from mid-slot by Jarome Iginla that appeared to squeeze through the 5-hole on Miller and slide slowly into the net.
Forty seconds into the second period, Iginla again set up Lucic. Iginla carried down the right side, then slid a perfect feed across to the far post. Lucic, skating hard down the left slot just ahead of Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber, reached and steered the pass behind Miller for a 2-0 lead.
A sloppy change led to a B’s too-many-men infraction and a Sabres power-play goal at 8:21 of the second by Cody Hodgson. Thomas Vanek sent a perfect pass from the left circle to the goal mouth, where Hodgson tipped it past Johnson.
The Bruins responded quickly, as a Carl Soderberg pass sent Brad Marchand up the left side on a clear 2-on-1. Marchand fed a nice pass over to Hamilton, jumping up sharply to join the rush, and the defenseman snapped the puck under the bar behind Miller to make it 3-1 at 11:50.
The Sabres struck again at 15:10, as defenseman Nikita Zadorov, in only his second NHL game, sent a backhander from the right circle past Johnson.
With the team’s playing 4-on-4 at 4:17 of the third period, an in-deep Krug outfought Drew Stafford to bring a puck out front and put it behind Miller. And then, after the Scott fireworks, the defenseman scored again on a shot from the left faceoff dot.
“We didn’t want to overlook them and underestimate our opponent,” Lucic said. “Obviously, (Thursday) is a big game with San Jose coming in. But there was also a job that needed to be done here before we start thinking about that.”