By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
It wasn’t nearly as easy as the Bruins made it look on their scoring sequences in the first and third period of play, but it was certainly enough to earn Boston their third straight victory on Sunday night, as Bruce Cassidy’s squad squeaked out a 3-2 win over the Sabres at TD Garden.
Held to just two shots on goal in the opening period, the Bruins made sure the first one undoubtedly counted, as David Pastrnak finished off a beautiful 2-on-1 sequence for his 29th goal of the season, scored with 7:21 left in the period.
Up 1-0 through 20 minutes of action, the Bruins were smacked upside the head by a bad luck sequence that gave Rasmus Ristolainen his fourth goal of the season on what appeared to be an own-goal of sorts by the B’s.
With the puck under Tuukka Rask’s pad and just inches from the net, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara came over and appeared to do his part to try and keep the puck under Rask, but the duo instead came through with a combo move that planted the puck in the Boston cage, and gave the Sabres their first goal of the evening.
And deadlocked at 1-1 through two periods of play, and with the Bruins stumbling on the power play, it was Jake DeBrusk and the B’s second unit that fired for two goals in 18 seconds to put the Bruins up 3-1 in the third.
For DeBrusk, the goals were an appropriate response to an obvious benching of No. 74 by Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy in the first period (DeBrusk played a team-low 2:22 in the first), and were good for DeBrusk’s first two-goal performance of the 2019-20 season.
But after a Curtis Lazar goal brought the Sabres back within one, the night was not complete for the Bruins without Rask and the Bruins killing off a late-game tripping penalty against Brett Ritchie, and with Rask finishing with 24 stops by the night’s end.
The Bruins were dealt some more bad news in this one, however, as the team lost defenseman Connor Clifton to an upper-body injury in the second period. With Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy already on the shelf with upper-body ailments of their own, the Bruins may be forced to reach into Providence for reinforcements should Clifton (and Krug and McAvoy) miss additional time.
With the win, Rask extended his personal home point streak to 10-0-5, which is the longest home point streak to begin a year by a B’s netminder since Gilles Gilbert went 16-0-1 in his first 17 home decisions back in 1973.
The Bruins will travel to New Jersey for a New Year’s Eve day game with the Devils.