Your Boston Bruins wrapped up their first road trip of the season with a ho-hum 4-1 win over the previously unbeaten Buffalo Sabres. Fresh off an ugly loss to the Flyers, the Bruins were looking to get right before heading home to take on the San Jose Sharks in a rare Sunday matinee. And the best cure for ugly hockey? Play the Sabres.
Linus Ullmark got his first start of the year against his former club and John Moore got back in the lineup (at the expense of Connor Clifton). This was Moore’s first NHL action since he injured his hip last year and underwent surgery in March. Moore spoke about the comeback he’s faced and how he “left the hospital after surgery in a wheelchair and here I am playing in an NHL game”. It was great to see him out there and looking good in his season debut. Up front with Nick Foligno out (UBI day to day), Tomas Nosek slid to the wing on the 3rd line with Eric Haula at center and Jake DeBrusk on the wing. On The New Merlot Line, Trent Frederic was at the pivot with Karson Kuhlman on one wing and Anton Blidh made his season debut on the other. The top 2 lines remained intact.
David Pastrnak got the Bruins going early when he finished off a Brad Marchand feed to beat Craig Anderson over the glove for his first of the year. Marchand with a heavy forecheck (guess that emphasis on cross checking is over?) enabled Patrice Bergeron to swoop in and grab the puck in Gretzky’s office. The Captain then bunted the puck back to Marchand who found Pasta at the edge of the RW dot: 1-0 Bruins.
With time winding down in the opening frame, a makeshift second line (Cassidy flopped Craig Smith to the 3rd and had Tomas Nosek on the 2nd) scored a pretty one to put the Bruins up for good. Nosek gained the zone and dropped the puck to Taylor Hall in the high slot. Hall drove the net and found Charlie Coyle at the RW circle, Coyle then sent the puck cross crease to Nosek for the backdoor tap in at the left post. Tic-Tac-Goal as Homeboy Jack likes to say.
The 2nd period was played along the perimeter in both zones as the Sabres looked as if they wanted to be anywhere else but at the rink. It didn’t help that among the few fans in the Key Bank Center, the B’s fans were louder and more visible amidst the acres of empty seats. Coyle got the Black and Gold Faithful on their feet with about 5 minutes left in the period when he cashed in on a sweet cross zone pass from Marchand on the power play. Marchy put it through 3 Buffalo defenders from the RW dot and found Coyle at the LW circle where he beat Anderson under the blocker and over the leg. That power play goal was the first that Buffalo had let up this season, they were a perfect 9 for 9 on the PK going into tonight.
Late in the 3rd Ullmark’s bid for a homecoming shutout was denied when Victor Olofsson beat him from the slot on a broken play. Ullmark looked as good as advertised tonight and was squared up all game. He kept the Bruins in the game early and showed his athleticism as they were outshot by a healthy margin and made an early season highlight save. Like Pee-Wee Herman says “I meant to do that.”
Taylor Hall took a late penalty but got to silence the boo-birds with his ENG out of the penalty box. Gotta love that Hall stared into the “crowd” after his tuck.
- I thought the D looked much more controlled and limited their turnovers
- Trent Frederic had his best game of the year and was noticeable all over the ice
- Good to see Ullmark get the W. Solid game from the new netminder
- Not a lot of urgency in the Bruins game. They got up early and the game didn’t have the snarl of the Philly game. Tough to bring it for 82 games, I get it.
- I would have liked to see them employ the hard forecheck all game, but that’s the style of hockey I like, so I guess chalk that up to me being selfish
- Anton Blidh didn’t finish the game with the dreaded “Upper Body Injury”
- Hand up: I’m an absolute donkey. I found out today that Linus Ullmark pronounces his name “Lee-nus”. Mr. Ullmark, I apologize and would love to have you on the podcast to say I’m sorry in person.
- John Moore talked about getting waived earlier this season and said that Patrice Bergeron called him about “5 minutes” after the news was delivered. Said the Bergy told him how much he meant to the team and that this wasn’t the end and that Moore was part of the group that had “unfinished business”. Bergy is an absolute beauty.
- ESPN+ had John Buccigross and Ryan Callahan as the announcing team and I kept waiting for Bucci to bring up Marchand’s lick of Cally back in the day. He didn’t during the broadcast, but it was addressed post game.