By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Hall – Krejci – Smith
Ritchie – Coyle – DeBrusk
Kuraly – Lazar – Wagner
Lauzon – McAvoy
Reilly – Miller
Tinordi – Clifton
Skinner – Reinhart – Olofsson
Asplund – Mittelstadt – Thompson
Bjork – Cozens – Ruotsalainen
Sheahan – Eakin – Okposo
Bryson – Ristolainen
Dahlin – Jokiharju
Irwin – Miller
The Sabres struck first in this one. Old friend Colin Miller sent a point hammer past Jeremy Swayman just a minute and 52 seconds in. Anders Bjork had the secondary assist on the goal during his first shift as a Sabre.
Linus Ullmark left the game for the Sabres with 15:06 remaining. Dustin Tokarski replaced him in net. David Krejci was the first to beat Tokarski, as he buried a rebound off of a point shot from Jeremy Lauzon. The assist for Lauzon marked his fifth of the year, while Craig Smith picked up his 15th assist of the year in a milestone 700th career NHL game for him.
Riley Sheahan was shaken up after a collision with Nick Ritchie prior to the goal. He went down the tunnel in noticeable discomfort. Rasmus Dahlin was also shaken up briefly following a hit from Ritchie. This time, Ritchie received a penalty for boarding with 5:28 remaining.
The Bruins killed the penalty, but were tasked with killing another one, as Jake DeBrusk took a hooking penalty with 3:09 to go. A minute and 31 seconds into the Sabres’ power play, it became a 29-second 5-on-3 for them following a high sticking penalty on Curtis Lazar.
Fortunately for the Bruins, they were able to kill off a large portion of the man advantage for the Sabres. As a result, 23 seconds of power play time bled into the second period. It wasn’t the most ideal first period of the season for the Bruins, but the game was tied heading into intermission, so that’s nice. They needed to tighten things up a bit, despite them holding the advantage in shots on goal at 11 to five.
After being a big focal point of attention for the Sabres in the first period, Nick Ritchie and Matt Irwin dropped the gloves 2:46 into the second period. Also early on, it was announced the Ullmark was injured and would not return to the game for the Sabres after leaving 4:54 into the first period.
Craig Smith gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with 14:31 remaining. It appeared that Taylor Hall had his first assist as a Bruin, but it was determined that the goal was unassisted. Nonetheless, Smith added to a memorable milestone night with his ninth goal of the season, adding to quite the hot streak for himself as of late.
Kevan Miller laid a massive hit on Rasmus Asplund and Tage Thompson stood up for his teammate in a short-lived fight. Thompson (6-foot-7) has a sizable height advantage over Miller (6-foot-2), but he ran into a very worthy combatant and Miller proved why he is worthy of such a title. Props to Thompson for taking quite the punches like a champ.
Jeremy Swayman and Jarred Tinordi combined for quite the goaltending performance in the latter portion of the period. Not an optimal situation to be in, but an exciting one when you don’t get burned. It’s a cool memory for Tinordi in his 100th career NHL game.
Irwin took a holding penalty with 3:31 remaining, giving the Bruins their first power play of the game. Colin Miller went down the tunnel while killing the penalty after blocking a shot from Hall, putting the Sabres down a defenseman in a less than ideal situation.
Speaking of things that aren’t ideal, the Bruins didn’t convert on the power play. They did hold their one-goal lead into the second intermission though. Shots on goal in the period were 13 to seven Bruins, bringing the total to 24 to 12 in their favor.
Score: 2-1 Boston
It was a fairly standard back-and-forth period until a bouncing shot from Dahlin that hit Lazar first made its way past Swayman to tie the game at the 8:07 mark. Things started to pick up steam a bit for the Bruins, as the Dahlin goal seemed to have sparked them.
Neither team could break the tie in regulation, so this one needed overtime. Despite their persistence for a late goal, the Bruins couldn’t solve Tokarski. Shots on goal in the period were ten to seven Sabres, bringing the regulation total to 31 to 22 in favor of the Bruins.
Hall and Bjork had their own respective chances to end it in overtime. That would have been quite the way to end it if one of them scored.
Rasmus Ristolainen and Dylan Cozens connected on a nice scoring chance that bounced into the air off of Swayman and into the air. Cozens batted it out of the air and in, but his stick was above the crossbar when it made contact with the puck, so it was no goal. Shots on goal in overtime were three to one Bruins, bringing the total to 34 to 23 in their favor.
Victor Olofsson: Miss
Charlie Coyle: Goal
Tage Thompson: Miss
Jake DeBrusk: Goal
Swayman’s shootout win makes him undefeated in that regard to start his career. Not too shabby. Having two goals in as many opportunities from Coyle and DeBrusk is nice, which I’m sure Swayman appreciates. He made 21 saves in regulation. Great work all around from the Bruins in the shootout and solid debuts from Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly. With the win, they moved to 22-12-6 on the season.
Final Score: 3-2 Boston