By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On X (Formerly Twitter) @adbblue
The Boston Bruins improved to 12-1-2 Tuesday night after defeating the Buffalo Sabers 5-2. The team got the message from head coach Jim Montgomery, who made them skate “Herbies” at practice on Monday. Montgomery said he thought they looked “tired” against the Montreal Canadiens in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss.
The Balck and Gold had ten different players record points in the win. David Pastrnak, Pavel Zacha, and Charlie McAcoy all had multi-point nights. Four different players also posted their first goal of the season.
The Bruins woke up after a bad first couple of shifts with too much standing around in the defensive zone. They got on the board first after Danton Heinen buried a loose puck on the goal mouth, showing great net-front presence. The goal was Heinesn’s first of the season, giving Boston a 1-0 lead.
They struck again 1:08 later after McAvoy led the rush and found Zacha, who slung it across for Pastrnak, drilling home a one-timer. That made it a 2-0 game. The Sabres would push back, accumulating some offensive zone time. Their stretch of a few strong shifts ended when Charlie McAvoy and Dylan Cozens were both sent off for roughing. This resulted in a four-on-four situation, and the Bruins extended their lead.
Brandon Carlo potted his first goal of the season on a three-on-one where Boston showed excellent puck movement. Zacha moved it over to Pastrnak, dropping it off to Carlo, who finished it, making it 3-0. The entire rush started, however, when Linus Ullmark made a great read and came diving out his net. He poke-checked to the puck, which Carlo found starting the rush the other way. Ullmark was solid in the opening frame, stopping all 13 of Buffalo’s shots.
The Bruins continued their surge into the second period. Oskar Steen, who had a goal disallowed Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens, found the back of the net. It was an absolute roof job top shelf that extended the Boston lead to 4-0. The goal was Steen’s first of the season.
The Bruins added to their lead, making it 5-0 after Hampus Lindholm scored his first of the season on the power-play. Buffalo answered, finally getting on the board after Victor Olofsson bested Ullmark to make it 5-1. The Bruins played a little too conservatively to end the second period and were outshot 9-7.
They had a second power-play with under three minutes to go in the middle frame. But a lackluster man advantage ensued, and the Bruins couldn’t capitalize. Buffalo generated some chances before the final horn, but Boston went into the locker room unscathed from any of them.
There was not much going on in the third period, as neither team dictated the play. Both teams had some high-danger scoring chances, but only Buffalo found the back of the net. Victor Olofsson had his second of the night, beating Ullmark from around the hash marks to make it 5-2.
That was it for the scoring in this one. Buffalo had one more opportunity to make things interesting after Matt Poitras took a tripping penalty with 1:26 left. The Sabres pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, but Boston withheld their final push.
Ullmark finished the night with 32 saves, making 12 in the third period. Despite losing by three, the Sabres had the shots on goal advantage, 34 to 32. It was a much-needed bounce-back win after a rough performance in Montreal.
The Bruins will have three days off until their next game. They will return to action again, facing their hated rivals, the Canadiens at home, on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. The two teams are coming off an intense matchup with each other, so it will be another highly anticipated divisional tilt.