By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Hall – Krejci – Smith
Ritchie – Coyle – DeBrusk
Kuraly – Lazar – Wagner
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Reilly – Clifton
Lauzon – Zboril
Skinner – Reinhart – Olofsson
Asplund – Mittelstadt – Thompson
Bjork – Cozens – Ruotsalainen
Rieder – Sheahan – Caggiula
Samuelsson – Ristolainen
Dahlin – Jokiharju
Bryson – Miller
Tuukka Rask was tasked with a big save early on, as Colin Miller jumped the route on a neutral zone pass off the stick of Jeremy Lauzon and made his way towards goal. It was an energetic start overall for the Bruins, mainly when it came to offensive zone pressure.
That consistent offensive pressure paid off in the form of a goal for Brad Marchand. David Pastrnak (22) and Mike Reilly (22) had the helpers Marchand’s 24th goal of the season. It was 1-0 Bruins at the 11:54 mark.
Jake DeBrusk took a hooking penalty at the 8:43 mark. The Bruins killed the penalty off, but the most noteworthy sequence came just after the conclusion of it, when Tuukka Rask made an impressive series of saves to keep the Sabres off the board.
Solid offensive zone pressure continued for the Bruins overall, even though the shots on goal for the period were nine apiece. The Bruins controlled the tempo in the first period pretty well.
Score: 1-0 Boston
DeBrusk nearly put a second goal on the board off of a shot from Nick Ritchie, but was somehow stopped by the sprawled-out armpit of Dustin Tokarski. Fortunately, a point hammer from Connor Clifton squeaked through the five-hole of Tokarski, then off of his right skate and in. Clifton’s first goal of the season was assisted by Sean Kuraly (3) and Curtis Lazar (5) at the 16:57 mark. Tough break for Tokarski.
Marchand took an elbowing penalty at the 8:55 mark. Just over a minute in, a roughing penalty on Rasmus Ristolainen led to 55 seconds of 4-on-4 time. It was quite the roughing penalty, to say the least.
Kuraly nearly added his second point of the night in the final ten seconds, driving towards the net with a scoring chance thanks to a nice feed from Chris Wagner, but was stopped by Tokarski. The Bruins outshot the Sabres 18 to six in the second period, bringing the total to 27 to 15 in their favor.
Score: 2-0 Boston
An interference call on Drake Caggiula just a minute and five seconds into the period gave the Bruins an early power play. Despite their persistence, they couldn’t make it hurt for the Sabres and even-strength play resumed.
Charlie McAvoy went off for roughing at the 11:57 mark Just 27 seconds into the power play for the Sabres, Sam Reinhart inadvertently tripped Clifton, creating a 4-on-4. Clifton fell into the boards face-first as a result, but appeared to be alright when he got back to his feet. Neither team could convert with the extra space to work with.
Taylor Hall showed off his willingness to backcheck, stifling a passing attempt from Casey Mittelstadt. The impressive start to his tenure as a Bruin just continues to become more and more encouraging to watch.
Craig Smith took an awkward high sticking penalty while working to get back and help on defense. The fourth power play of the game for the Sabres ensued at the 7:19 mark. They couldn’t convert, moving to 0-for-4 on the night.
But they got another opportunity a bit later, as Ritchie went off for slashing at the 3:01 mark. The Sabres took their timeout following the penalty on Ritchie. Seven seconds later, Ristolainen went off for high sticking. Just 20 seconds after that Jeremy Lauzon went off for roughing. Tokarski was pulled for the extra attacker after the fact, creating a 6-on-3 for the Sabres.
As if things couldn’t get any weirder, the Sabres managed to take a too many men on the ice penalty, now creating a 4-on-4. Tokarski was eventually pulled for the extra attacker once again. but the Sabres couldn’t break the shutout bid for Rask late.
The total came to 32 saves in the shutout for Rask, his first shutout since 3/10/20 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins were outshot 17 to 14 in the third period, bringing the final total to 41 to 32 in their favor. The win matters the most, with this one being the fifth in a row out of the trade deadline. The Bruins are 26-12-6.
Final Score: 2-0 Boston