For the second time in three days, the Bruins defeated the Buffalo Sabres, completing a season sweep over the divisional rivals for the first time in the teams’ 45-year coinciding history.
Boston took this one by a score of 3-1, with goals coming from Frank Vatrano, Patrice Bergeron and Tim Schaller. Vatrano opened the scoring just 1:28 into the game thanks to his trademark quick release. Zdeno Chara capped off a dominant shift by recovering a Sabres giveaway before feeding Vatrano in the right circle.
The lead was extended to 2-0 just over seven minutes into the second period on a power play goal by Bergeron. Ryan Spooner found Bergeron open in the slot, and he blew a one-timer past Sabres goalie Robin Lehner just before the man advantage expired. After a slow start offensively, Bergy is starting to find his rhythm, scoring three goals in the past five games.
With his assist on the goal, Spooner extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists for seven points over that span.
Shortly after the Bergeron goal, former Sabre Tim Schaller got his feet moving and beat the defense around the outside, and his bad-angle shot beat Lehner to put the Bruins on top 3-0. It was one that Lehner would definitely want back, but it was still an impressive rush for the Granite Stater.
Torey Krug continues to rack up assists, picking up the primary helper on Schaller’s goal. He extended his point streak to five games, as well, registering seven assists. With 20 assists on the season, Krug tied Brad Marchand for the team lead.
Jack Eichel got the Sabres on the board late in the second period, but Tuukka Rask stopped the other 26 shots for his 19th win of the year.
-Local inspiration Denna Laing dropped the ceremonial first puck prior to the game exactly one year after suffering a spinal injury during the Women’s Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium. The NHL’s website sucks and the video can’t be embedded, but it can be seen here.
-The Bruins top offensive players are finally producing. In addition to Bergeron, Krug and Spooner, David Krejci is looking like his old self again. He did not record a point in this game, but he is back to using his patience and vision to make plays. He has five points in the past five games.
-For the third straight game, the refs immediately intervened to prevent a fight from occurring. The league needs to take control of this issue before it truly gets out of hand. This is getting ridiculous.
-Now is the time for Boston to put together a win streak. It has won three straight games twice this season, and need to string more wins together. The Bruins’ 44 points put them in a tie for second in the Atlantic alongside the Senators. However, the Sens have three games in hand. Tampa Bay is four points back with two games in hand. Every point matters.
-The Bruins issued an update on David Backes, who left Thursday’s game after taking a high hit. He was diagnosed with a concussion, and will be out indefinitely.
[Photo via NHL.com, by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images]