Eventually, the winning streak had to end, but you didn’t think it would end in this fashion for the Boston Bruins. The Black and Gold were outplayed from the opening faceoff as the Buffalo Sabres snapped Boston’s win streak at six games with a 6-4 win at KeyBank Arena Friday night.
The tough night started before the game when the Bruins announced that captain Patrice Bergeron would miss the game with a lower-body injury. Playing without Bergeron for the first time this season, the Bruins were beaten by the last-place Sabres.
Here are takeaways and low lights from the Bruins’ first loss in 12 days.
- Give the Bruins some credit. They trailed 5-1 late in the third period, but made things interesting with three goals in just over a five-minute span, but they ended up running out of time and an empty-net goal for the Sabres sealed their first win over the Bruins this season in six tries.
- Despite having the top-ranked penalty-kill in the league, the Bruins’ recent parade to the penalty box in their last couple of games was a cause for concern. While they survived the other games, the Sabres made them pay Friday night. Buffalo went 2-for-3 on the man advantage on two goals from Sam Reinhart. Give a team enough chances, they will eventually make you pay, which the Sabres did.
- Speaking of the power play, what has happened to the Bruins PP? They are 0-for-12 in their last six games and have not looked good. Somehow, someway, they need to fix it.
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- It was not a good night for the first line without Bergeron. Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie Coyle combined for zero points and a plus/minus of minus-6. They also had a bad turnover in the neutral zone that led to the Sabres’ second goal. They have seen better nights.
- Jaroslav Halak replaced Tuukka Rask early in the third period following Buffalo’s fourth consecutive goal for a 4-1 lead. Playing for the first time since coming off of the COVID-19 protocols list, Halak stopped four of the five shots he faced.
- Steven Kampfer had the first three-point game of his nine-year career. He scored the first goal of the game just 2:15 into it, then assisted on Nick Ritchie’s and Kevan Miller’s third-period goals.
- What do the Bruins do with Coyle? Moving him up to the first line did him no good. Maybe it’s time he becomes a healthy scratch in Pittsburgh? Not sure, but he’s been mostly ineffective all season. The Bruins are paying him $5 million a year.
- There was a lot of hype around Buffalo rookie goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and in his NHL debut, he made 36 saves to record the win. It’s hard to believe that the Bruins had 40 shots on the net in the game. Seriously, it was somewhat of a weak 40 shots, right?
- One thing I’ll never understand with the NHL and some of the rules. In the second period, Craig Smith was called for a minor holding penalty, but Buffalo’s Dylan Cozens was also set off for embellishment. How can you have a penalty for holding if there’s embellishment? I will never understand that.
The win streak had to end sometime. They will continue their road trip with two games in Pittsburgh against the Penguins Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night. The Pens are playing well, but the Bruins have a chance to close the gap in the standings with a pair of head-to-head games.