By Chris Chirichiello, Bruins Daily
On a night at TD Garden where the Boston Bruins seemed to have a ďslam dunkĒ of a game, the Buffalo Sabres pushed them to the brink. Loui Eriksson netted the game-winner in overtime lifting the Bruins to a 4-3 win, but Dougie Hamilton was the difference maker with his first career multi-goal game on Sunday night.
Hamilton scored the first goal of the game on the power-play giving the Bís a 1-0 lead and scored the all important tying goal with less than two minutes to play in regulation.
The 21-year-old had no points over his last five games, but stepped up enormously when his team needed him. His three-point night along with his 25:58 of ice time was the real story on this night. It was Hamiltonís team-leading sixth multiple-point effort of the season.
His aggressiveness from the start was noticed by Bruins head coach Claude Julien, but even he admitted sometimes Hamilton is too aggressive, resulting in mistakes. Those mistakes, however, were trumped with smart and timely plays on this night.
ďI think sometimes heís over-aggressive and thereís times where it ends up costing him,Ē Julien said after the team's third victory in the month of December. ďTonight, he was aggressive at the right time and he played a real solid game tonight. Thereís times where heís aggressive and the decisions arenít the right one, so itís learning as you go along here for a young player. Heís 21 years old, I think weíre getting a lot out of a 21 year-old defenseman right now. Even if he has bad games, heís been pretty good overall.Ē
Not only did Hamilton get the Bís off on the right foot, his power-play goal snapped the team's 0-for-11 skid. It was their first power-play goal since December 6th against the Coyotes.
But, it was his game-tying tally with 1:31 left in regulation that woke up the sold out TD Garden crowd.
ďI think we had some good zone time before that and good pass by Smitty (Reilly Smith) up to Bergy (Patrice Bergeron) and then I had the wide open side so good pass to Bergy over to me and I donít know if the goalie was cheating,Ē Hamilton said with a smile. ďI donít think it was a very good shot, but just nice to see it go in.Ē
Hamilton rifled off six shots on the night to trail only Bergeron, who had seven. He admitted he tries to shoot more when the team is struggling to score, and it finally paid off.
ďI think itís just trying to get in the positions and shooting a lot,Ē Hamilton said. ďI think I had a lot of shots today and a lot blocked and if youíre shooting a lot youíre going to score, so I think I was pretty happy with that first shot. I think I didnít expect it kind of after it came off my stick pretty good, but just, I donít know, like you said, having the confidence, but I think Iíve always had that ability and Iím just trying to get opportunities.Ē
Loui Eriksson may get all the accolades for scoring the game-winning goal in overtime for the Black and Gold, or even Milan Lucic for the heads up pass, but Hamilton proved yet again why he is one of the top up-and-coming blue liners in the NHL.