On December 29, 2019, the Boston Bruins competed against the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in 3 days. Two days earlier, the Bruins defeated the Sabres 3-0 without Charlie McAvoy or Torey Krug. Zdeno Chara had also made his first appearance in several games. “We know what we gotta do,” Connor Clifton said before the game.
The first several minutes of the game were dominated by the Sabres. They were able to register several shots on goal before the Bruins were whistled for too many men with less than 3 minutes gone in the first. The bench minor was served by Jake Debrusk, who had not been seen on them since. During the penalty kill, the opposing team established more than 30 seconds of consecutive zone time and several great opportunities.
After the kill, the play was very back and forth. Less than 13 minutes gone in the period, David Pastrnak put one past Linus Ullmark. The assists awarded to the other 2/3 of the perfection line, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. “This is not a recording!” according to Bruins announcer and overall homer, Jack Edwards.
The Bruins registered several other chances until Chris Wagner was sent to the box for tripping Brandon Montour. The majority of the Sabres’ power play spent in their offensive zone.
Within the first 15 seconds of the second period, Henri Jokiharju gets called for tripping Brad Marchand. The Bruins had several shots on the power play, but each stopped by Linus Ullmark. After the power play, the play was once again back and forth. With less than 15 minutes in the period, Rasmus Ristolainen scored to tie the game. Immediately after the goal against, the Bruins got right back to work and had some excellent chances. With 11 minutes gone in the second, Jimmy Vesey gets whistled for a delay of game. The Bruins had difficulty establishing zone time and setting up the play. They only established one shot during that time as it took them until the last 15 seconds to set up.
With a little more than 6 minutes to go in the period, Evan Rodrigues gets called for tripping Steven Kampfer. The Bruins had difficulty setting up, once again. They were able to get several shots off, but Linus Ullmark had the goal covered. Tuukka Rask had an outstanding period and easily kept the Bruins in this one.
Quickly into the third period, the Bruins were back on the power play. Johan Larsson was awarded two penalties for tripping Jake Debrusk and for hooking Brad Marchand. The Bruins wasted no time on this 4:00 man advantage. Jake Debrusk scored two power play goals with the assists going to Steven Kampfer, David Pastrnak, and David Krejci. “Any time you don’t get your feet wet, you want to respond,” Debrusk shared in his post-game interview. Just a few minutes later, the Sabres answered with a goal from Curtis Lazar. The Bruins swarmed the offensive zone after that incident. Steven Kampfer and David Pastrnak gave Linus Ullmark many problems on their next few shifts.
With less than 5 minutes to go, Brett Richie gets called for a trip. The Bruins did a stellar job killing the first minute of the penalty. Patrice Bergeron had several takeaways, and Joakim Nordstrom registered a shot on goal. Bruce Cassidy called a timeout with 19 seconds left in the PK while the Sabres pulled their goalie. The four skaters were able to kill the unwanted penalty, and Brett Richie rejoined his team on the ice. Sam Reinhart penalized for slashing Brandon Carlo with less than 20 seconds to go in the game. The man advantage did not make any difference as the Bruins beat the Sabres 3-2.
“You want a response in some way, shape, or form,” Bruce Cassidy shared after the game. “Two goals is a good response… The message to some of the guys who aren’t the Marchys of the world that it is a privilege to put on the Bruins’ sweater.”