(Photo Credit: Adrian Kraus/Associated Press)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

The Boston Bruins recorded their 20th win of the season, defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 in Buffalo on Wednesday night. It was the team’s first game back from the holiday freeze, and it snapped their four-game losing streak.

The Bruins controlled much of the game and special teams is what reigned supreme. The Black and Gold were three for four on the power-play, and killed off all six of the penalties they took.Ā 

First Period

The Sabres had the first sustained offensive zone time and the first four shots on net of the game. However, it was Boston who got on the board first. Mason Lohrei made it 1-0 after Danton Heinen forced a turnover in the neutral zone. Trent Frederic found James Van Riemsdyk, who put it on goal, and Lohrei was driving the net and buried the rebound.

The Sabres had the first power play of the game when Brad Marchand was called for a phantom cross-check. The officials clearly got the call wrong, and Marchand let them know, which earned him an extra two for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Bruins penalty kill, however, was sound and killed off the four minutes. Marchand then had a great chance out of the penalty box but was stoned by Buffalo goalie Devin Levi.

The Bruins struck again, coming on their first power play. Jake DeBrusk made a great play, taking the puck behind the net, and found Charlie Coyle in front, who roofed it top shelf. That made it 2-0, and it was just the second goal in 13 games for Coyle. The Bruins were outshot eight to seven in the opening frame, but they controlled most of the play. Jeremy Swayman was solid in net, stopping all eight of Buffalo’s shots.

Second Period

The start of the second period was uneventful, with mostly neutral zone hockey. Charlie McAvoy got a bump to the knee and appeared to be in some discomfort, but he stayed in the game. Boston extended their lead to 3-0 after converting for the second time on the man advantage. Once again, DeBrusk found Coyle in front, and the Weymouth, MA native banked in his second of the night.

The Sabres answered with a couple of solid shifts, which included a high-danger chance from Jeff Skinner. He ripped a shot from the slot, but Swayman was square and made a big save. Buffalo again almost scored moments later when a shot deflected up way high. It looked like it was going in, but McAvoy was able to bat it out of mid-air, keeping the puck out and showing impressive hand-eye coordination.

The Bruins made it three for three on the power-play when Morgan Geekie was able to sneak one by Levi to make it 4-0. The goal was set up by some great high-to-low puck movement, with McAvoy throwing the puck toward the net. Boston then found themselves in a tough spot, as they took three penalties and had to consecutively kill off a four-on-three, a five-on-three, and a five-on-four.

They survived it, killing off all three penalties and allowing only one shot in the process. Boston had the edge in shots 13 to 11 in the middle frame, and Swayman was perfect again. It was another strong period for Jim Montgomery’s Squad.

Third Period

The Bruins had a strong first two minutes of the third period but received yet another questionable penalty. Heinen was called for goaltender interference after he was blatantly shoved into Levi by Connor Clifton. The Bruins once again killed it off. However, the Sabres did get on the board soon after, when Erik Johnson drilled in a shot top shelf from the point with a screen in front. Swayman never saw it, and the score became 4-1.

The Sabres continued pushing the pace and generated some really good looks from their forecheck. Boston countered with a couple of really good chances from Marchand, Heinen, and then David Pastrnak, but all three couldn’t finish. The game settled down towards the end of regulation and the Bruins shut down the Sabres attack.

Coyle just missed completing his second hat trick of the season as Rasmus Dhalin blocked two of his shots toward an empty net. The Sabres finished the night with an edge in shots 27 to 25, but it didn’t matter as Swayman stopped 26 of them en route to the win.

Up Next

The Bruins will next face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop. They’ll be back at TD Garden after playing three straight on the road. The Devils defeated the Bruins 2-1 in overtime in their first meeting of the season.