The Boston Bruins got back on track Friday night with a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Linus Ullmark, playing in his first game as a Bruin, recorded 35 saves in the win against his former team. Charlie Coyle had a breakout game with a goal and two assists. Both Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand recorded multi-point games.
Despite getting outshot, the Bruins capitalized on opportunities as three Bruins scored their first goals of the season.
They’re baaaaaack. For the first time season, a goal came courtesy of passing from all three on the first line. With Marchand and Patrice Bergeron working down low, eventually Marchand fed Pastrnak for the one timer who beat Craig Anderson over the left shoulder.
Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle and … Tomas Nosek? Yupp, that lined looked pretty good together as they went tic-tac-toe off the rush to open the scoring with Nosek registering his first as a Bruin to double the lead.
The Sabres nearly scored on one of their 15 shots in the first period, but Ullmark made an incredible leg save to keep things even. Granted, I think it was more luck than skill, but hey, he still makes the highlight reel.
Dylan Cozens, like us, probably couldn’t believe that didn’t go in. 2-0 Bruins lead after one.
The Bruins finally connected for the first time on the power play this season. Marchand hit Coyle with a well-placed seeing-eye pass through the slot to the other dot and Coyle ripped it by Anderson to give Boston a 3-0 lead.
Victor Olofsson was able to break Ullmark’s shutout, beating him with a shot short-side to make it a 3-1 game.
Forbort gets caught just a little high in the scrum and Charlie McAvoy is forced to cover the pass on the 2 on 1. Ullmark just got beat with a well-placed shot.
Hall added an empty-netter to seal the win and Boston improved to 2-1-0 with the 4-1 win, handing Buffalo its first loss on the season.
- Charlie Coyle, come on down! He was excellent in this game. The second line was really solid in the Dallas game but kind of disappeared a bit outside of the Hall goal against Philadelphia. Good to see Coyle to get on the scoreboard
- Have a game Tomas Nosek. He was particularly impressive in this one and rewarded on the goal
- Of course, Ullmark was sensational. I do believe his preseason was a blip on the radar. He looked calm, cool and collected in net on Friday and he faced a ton of shots. I think Boston is shaping up to have one of the best goalie tandems this season and could compete for another Jennings Trophy
- Marchand continues to be the best Bruin on the ice. He’s a legitimate top 10 player in the league
- Pastrnak gets his first of the season and hopefully that opens the door. He’s been kind of quiet through the first two, despite a ton of shot attempts. He broke through against the Sabres and I think that spells trouble for the rest of the league
- Anton Blidh left with an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s a possible three injuries to the bottom-six. Chris Wagner likely will get the call up for Sunday’s tilt if either Blidh or Nick Foligno isn’t ready
- Craig Smith is struggling. There’s no easy way to put it. Conor Ryan of BSJ tweeted this interesting tidbit – Buffalo at one point was outshooting the Bruins 24-1 at 5 on 5 with Craig Smith on the ice. That is yikes
- As a result, Smith was demoted to the third line. Between Smith underperforming and the injuries, the forward group, outside of 63, 37 and 88, could see some shuffling
- The Buffalo Sabres look like a motivated team. It’s no fluke that they’re 3-1-0 to start. They’ve outshot the opponents in every game. I think they are finally putting the Jack Eichel saga behind them and focusing on the team they have now. They won’t make the playoffs, but they will not be an easy win
- As expected, Bruins Twitter was in an uproar over the fact that the game wasn’t on live tV. Welcome to 2021 folks, streaming is the future
Boston now turns its focus to the San Jose Sharks, who like the Sabres, are a team everyone thought would be bottom-feeders and they’re 4-0-0 to start the season. They just beat the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.
The Bruins won’t have it easy on Sunday, but they are the better team and should be able to hand the Sharks their first loss of the season.