Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

When you’re on the wrong end of a 7-0 beatdown to the defending Stanley Cup champions — a wrong end that saw you beat up and down the ice in every possible way for three periods until Brad Marchand won a fight with Lars Eller, mind you — it’d almost be unfair if the second leg of a back-to-back did not come with a pick-me-up.

The Boston Bruins got exactly that, and a 4-0 win, with their Thursday meeting against the Buffalo Sabres.

Boston opened up the game’s scoring with the first goal of the season from captain Zdeno Chara, who beat the Sabres’ Carter Hutton at the 6:33 mark of the first period, while the lead was extended to 2-0 as Ryan Donato finished off a tic-tac-toe power-play sequence with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Up two late in the second, David Pastrnak found himself in the right spot at the right time, as a David Krejci feed found him all alone to the side of the Buffalo net, where he did not miss for his first goal of the season.

And for the Bruins as a team, it was good a ‘get right’ game as a team could have had two games into a season, and really came back to the performance of their best players; Chara opened up the game’s scoring and finished the win with a team-leading 25:55 of time on ice, Pastrnak and Bergeron (an empty-netter scored with 12 seconds left in the game) found themselves on the board with goals, and Marchand finished the night with four helpers.

“Guys we count on led, and the followers followed,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the win.

Jaroslav Halak, meanwhile, stopped all 32 shots thrown his way for a shutout in the first start of his B’s career.

The 33-year-old Slovak was solid in relief of Tuukka Rask on Wednesday night in Washington, too, with stops on 16-of-18 shots against. But on Thursday, Halak was the brick wall his mask displays, and refused to relent, even as the third period saw the Sabres turn up the pressure with 15 shots compared to just five from the Bruins.

“When he needed to be solid, he was,” Cassidy said of Halak. “I thought he tracked pucks really well. We gave up some outside stuff, and he was able to track those and get those out of harm’s way.”

Boston’s ability to keep the Sabres outside the scoring areas was especially impressive, and is certainly something the Bruins needed after what was a straight-up shooting gallery for the Capitals at Capital One Arena the night before.

And while everybody is going to be quick to fire it up their talk of a goaltending controversy brewing in Boston, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy made it a point to mention that it will most likely be Tuukka Rask in the crease when the Bruins return to Boston for their Monday matinee of a home opener against the Ottawa Senators.

“I’d say it’s 90 percent Tuukka,” Cassidy said (via the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter). “I’ll tell you for sure Sunday.”

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.