Boston Bruins (23-10-2) vs. Buffalo Sabres (9-23-3)
9:46 p.m. - Third Period Snapshots: FINAL BOS 4, BUF 1
BRUINS BEAT BUFFALO: The Boston Bruins improved to 24-10-2 with tonight's 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. The Black & Gold got offensive output from Reilly Smith (2, one empty netter), David Krejci and Milan Lucic, while Tuukka Rask made 34 stops on 35 shots to earn his 18th victory of the season. The Bruins are back in action on Monday as they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET. B'S SURVIVE SURVIVE PENALTIES: Jordan Caron and Johnny Boychuk were both charged with minor penalties in the final seven minutes of the third period, putting the Bruins on five-on-three for the second time in the evening. 17 seconds in to the five-on-three, Buffalo's Steve Ott was called for slashing after he broke Zdeno Chara's stick in the Bruins zone, yielding a four-on-three in favor of the Sabres. The B's were able to kill off Caron's initial infraction, then Boychuk's to give themselves 31 seconds of power play time, which saw a good chance from David Krejci driving the net that Enroth was able to make the stop on. The Sabres were able to weather the 30-second storm to kill off Ott's penalty to bring themselves back to full-strength.
B'S GET A MAN-ADVANTAGE: With 10:59 to go, Buffalo's Mike Weber was whistled for holding on Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron to give the Bruins a two-minute man-advantage. The B's managed to sustain a good amount of pressure in the Sabres' zone, but Buffalo held strong to prevent any further offensive output, killing off the penalty. Buffalo will have some ground to make up as they still trail two goals with just under nine minutes remaining.
LUCIC EXTENDS THE LEAD: With 14:42 to go in the third period, the Bruins extended the lead to 3-1 when Milan Lucic found the back one the net from the slot for his team-leading 11th goal of the season. The play started when Zdeno Chara hit David Krejci with a pass in the left faceoff circle, who then fed a an open Lucic in the slot. Krejci's assist on the play gives him a multiple point game with his goal in the second period.
B'S POSTGAME COVERAGE: Stay tuned for our postgame coverage and follow us on Twitter @NHLBruins for quotes from the B's locker room and Head Coach Claude Julien.
BRUINS ON INSTAGRAM: Follow NHLBruins on Instagram for behind-the-scenes pictures and the best in-game photos: www.instagram.com/nhlbruins.
NEXT GAME: The Bruins are back in action on Monday as they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.
8:57 p.m. - Second Period Snapshots: BOS 2, BUF 1
BERGERON SCRAPS WITH MYERS: At 14:17 into the second period, Patrice Bergeron engaged in his first career regular season NHL fight against Buffalo's Tyler Myers in a fiery, yet short bout between the two, before they were separated and sent to the sin bin. Bergeron has fought twice before in the NHL in the 2008-09 postseason against Josh Gorges (Montreal Canadiens) and in the 2012-13 postseason against Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins).
B'S HOLD STRONG, DOWN FIVE-ON-THREE: At the 10:32 mark, Patrice Bergeron was called for hooking, putting the Bruins down a man for the second time in the evening. About 11 seconds into the penalty, Gregory Campbell inadvertently clipped Jamie McBain in the face with his stick, drawing blood, yielding a four minute double minor. The Bruins were able to kill off the the 1:49 of five-on-three to get to a slightly more favorable five on-four. Buffalo was unable to generate much momentum during their five-on-four man-advantage, as the Bruins were able to kill off the second penalty to Campbell, to hang on to their one-goal lead with just over six minutes to go in the period.
KREJCI SCORES TOP SHELF: Less than two minutes into the second period of play, David Krejci regained the Bruins lead with a slick top shelf goal, off of a feed from Jarome Iginla in the left faceoff circle, for his seventh goal of the season. Iginla, who showed a tremendous amount of patience to find the perfect seam for the pass, earns himself his 14th helper of the season for his role on the play.
7:54 p.m. - First Period Snapshots: BOS 1, BUF 1
BUFFALO TIES IT: With 1:06 to go in the first period, the Sabres were able to tie the game when Zemgus Girgensons chipped the puck past B's goaltender Tuukka Rask from just outside the right faceoff circle. Forward Matt Moulson (11) and blueliner Henrik Tallinder (4) were credited with the assists on the goal. The goal snaps Rask's shutout streak at 78:54, which includes 60 minutes of scorless hockey against the Calgary Flames where he earned his 19th career shutout in the Bruins 2-0 win. Entering tonight the Bruins had a 9-3-2 record when they are tied after the first period, while the Sabres hold 2-4-3 record.
SPOONER CALLED FOR HOOKING: At 11:39 into the first frame of play, Ryan Spooner was penalized for hooking sending the Bruins PK units to work for the first time in the matchup. Entering tonight the Bruins penalty kill had been 96 for 11 on the season (86.5%, 4th in the NHL) up against a Buffalo power play that had a 13% success rate with the man advantage (27th in the NHL). The Black & Gold were able to pick up their teammate and kill off the minor to preserve the one-goal lead with under seven minutes to go in the period.
SMITH SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY: At 9:57 into the first period, the Bruins were awarded their first power play of the evening when Buffalo's Linus Omark was called for hooking on winger Milan Lucic. 32 seconds into the power play, the B's performed a beautifully executed series of crisp tic-tac-toe passes resulting in a goal for Reilly Smith from just inside the left faceoff circle for his 10th goal of the year. Earning the assist on the play were Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner for their 12th and fourth assists of the season, respectively.
MARCHAND SLOW TO GET OFF THE ICE: After a stoppage in play at 11:54, Bruins forward Brad Marchand was a bit slow to get off the ice following a collision in the Buffalo zone. Marchand, however appeared to be okay, returning to the ice to finish out the period. 6:30 p.m. - Pregame Snapshots: BOS vs. BUF STARTING GOALTENDERS: Rask (17-8-2, 1.90 GAA, .934 Save %) vs. Enroth (1-6-3, 2.61 GAA, .908 Save %). Rask is 4-5-1 with a 2.71 GAA and .914 save % in 12 career games against Buffalo. Enroth is 0-3-2 with a 4.00 GAA and .888 save % in six career games against Boston.
BRUINS VS SABRES LIFETIME: The B’s and Sabres will meet for the 271st time tonight with the Bruins holding a 123-109-29-9 record and a 874-870 scoring edge. The Black & Gold are 73-43-14-3 in their 133 lifetime meetings against the Sabres in Boston, with a scoring advantage of 478-393 in those contests. The Sabres are the only team that the Bruins have never swept in a season series. PATRICE’S PALS: As a part of his continuing charitable initiative Patrice’s Pals, Bruins Alternate Captain Patrice Bergeron invites children from local hospitals and other organizations to experience a Bruins home game from his luxury suite. Children and their families receive goodie bags filled with Bruins memorabilia, a visit from the Bruins Mascot Blades and Bruins Ice Girls, as well as a feature on the Garden HDX. Tonight, Bergeron will be hosting the following guests from Sandy Hook Elementary School: Natalie Hammond (Lead Teacher), Teri Alves (3rd Grade Teacher), Alison Stevenson (3rd Grade Teacher), Kevin Anzellotti (Custodian), Sally Mackenzie (3rd Grade Teacher) and Jacky Lloyd (Physical Education Teacher). ZDENO LEADING THE WAY: The Bruins are undefeated this season in the 13 games where Captain Zdeno Chara has registered a point. That record includes an 8-0-0 record when he scores a goal and 6-0-0 mark when he registers an assist.
SPOKED-B DEBUTS: The Bruins have had nine players play their first game in the Spoked-B this season (Craig Cunningham, Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Jarome Iginla, Chad Johnson, Nick Johnson, Kevan Miller, Reilly Smith and David Warsofsky), including three players who have made their NHL debut (Cunningham, Miller, Warsofsky).
184 AND COUNTING: Following last Saturday’s home game against the Calgary Flames, the Bruins have sold out 184 consecutive regular season and playoff games at TD Garden. Their last non-sellout was on Dec. 2, 2009 when they hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning and drew 16,553.
SABRES NOTEBOOK: Defenseman Christian Erhoff enters tonight with a three-game point streak, notching three assists during that span…Drew Stafford leads all Sabres with 25 points (12-13) in 39 career games against the Bruins…The Sabres acquired forward Linus Omark from the Edmonton Oilers on December 19, in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft…Goaltender Ryan Miller is 26-9-7 against the Bruins in his career and has not lost consecutive starts in Boston since 2008-09… Entering tonight, Buffalo has killed off 14 consecutive penalties.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins power play: 18-for-94 (19.1%, 11th NHL), Bruins penalty kill: 96-for-111 (86.5%, 4th NHL)… Sabres power play: 14-for-108 (13.0%, 27th NHL), Sabres penalty kill: 89-for-110 (80.9%, 21st NHL).