By: Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
Losing 4-3 in overtime to the division rival Buffalo Sabres wasn’t the way the Boston Bruins wanted to end the 2022 portion of this season, especially since they squandered two leads and a chance to put the game away by failing to score on a full two-minute five-on-three power play when the black and gold held the 3-2 lead with just over 13 minutes left to play in regulation. Instead, Buffalo’s Dylan Cozens tied the game with their net empty with 1:37 remaining. Then, Alex Tuch beat Jeremy Swayman with his second goal of the game with 1:07 remaining in overtime to give Buffalo their sixth straight win.
David Pastrnak started the scoring in the first period with his 25th goal of the season, beating Buffalo goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen with a one-timer from David Krejci and Pavel Zacha. The goal is number 265 for Pastrnak, moving him to sole possession of 10th overall in Bruins history. Pastrnak is just 12 goals shy of tieing Wayne Cashman, who sits in 9th with 277.
Tage Thompson tied the game at one when he skated to the front of the net and used his reach to tuck the puck past Swayman with 3:47 left in the first period. The shots were tied at nine a piece heading into the room for the first intermission. The Bruins outhit the Sabres 9-6.
After Tuch’s goal gave Buffalo the 2-1 lead in the second, Connor Clifton took exception to the hit Peyton Krebs landed on Taylor Hall, and the two dropped the gloves, which ended with Krebs heading down the tunnel for repairs instead of into the box for the matching fighting major.
The bout got the Bruins and the crowd back into the game. Captain Patrice Bergeron tied the game for the Bruins with his 15th goal of the season from Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk. The goal came on the power play when Kyle Okposo was called for boarding Hampus Lindholm. With 1,012 points in his career, Bergeron is now tied with Phil Esposito for third on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list.
Marchand gave Boston the lead with 7:35 left in the third on a breakaway outlet pass from Pastrnak. The Sabres were going for a line change when Pastrnak hit Marchand just in front of the blue line, and the speedy winger beat Luukkonen five-hole for the 3-2 advantage. Marchand has recorded eight points in his last eight games.
The Bruins started the game off sloppy, getting called for too many men just 39 seconds into the game. Then, with AJ Greer serving the penalty for Boston, the penalty killers went to work not allowing the Sabres to get set up in the offensive zone. Trent Frederic had a scoring chance but drew the ire of the Sabres when he “ran” into Luukkonem following his shot. Rasmus Dahlin took exception and cross-checked Frederic to negate the two-man advantage.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres 40-25 in the game. Boston is 28-4-4 with a home record of 18-0-3. They face the Pittsburgh Penguins (19-11-6) at Fenway Park in the Winter Classic on Monday, January 2.