The Boston Bruins closed out 2022 with a 4-3 loss in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres on New Year’s Eve at TD Garden. David Pastrnak opened the scoring with his 25th goal of the season to put the Bruins ahead by one.
The Sabres tied the game with a goal from Tage Thompson before the end of the first period before Alex Tuch put Buffalo up at the beginning of the second frame. The B’s responded with a goal from Patrice Bergeron on the power play before Brad Marchand put Boston ahead.
The Bruins could not close the game as Rasmus Dahlin saved the Sabres’ skin before Dylan Cozens scored with an empty net. In overtime, the Sabres sealed the deal when Tuch scored his second of the game to win it.
In the final game before the Winter Classic, the B’s decided to go with Jeremy Swayman between the pipes. Swayman entered Saturday afternoon’s game coming off a disappointing result against the Ottawa Senators.
The 24-year-old played great in both losses, but after coming up short against Buffalo, he saw his record drop to 7-3-and-2 with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. While those stats may not stand out as terrible, they pale compared to Linus Ullmark.
The argument could be made that the team has played better in front of Ullmark and on a more consistent basis, but Swayman continues to struggle when the team relies on him in the biggest of moments.
There’s no doubt that Ullmark is the go-to guy between the pipes heading into the playoffs, but does Boston feel so confident that it would be willing to use Swayman as a piece to deal with at the deadline?
The Sabres entered the game as the second-most potent offense in the league, trailing only the Bruins, and the NHL’s second-leading goal scorer was once again a threat that could not be contained. Thompson added to his total by scoring his 27th goal of the season.
Buffalo is an up-and-coming team that plays an exciting brand of hockey. If it weren’t for an eight-game losing streak, the Sabres would be sitting comfortably in the Wild Card instead of on the outside looking in on the postseason.
Don Granato has done a tremendous job with his young core group of players, and is another reason my season preview predictions have been obliterated. The Bruins are 28-4–4, without a regulation loss at home, and lead the NHL with 60 points at the end of 2022.
Boston kicks off 2023 by taking the game outside. On Monday, the Bruins are hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park in the 2023 Winter Classic. The Pens have dropped each of their last four games into the new year.