BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins defeated the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday to climb back to .500 with a 6-6-0 record.
They allowed 15 shots on goal in a game that reached overtime, including eight after the first period. It was a defensive performance more reflective of the Bruins' philosophy from the past several seasons than many of their early season performances.
According to Boston coach Claude Julien, the Bruins, who will be without injured defensemen Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller when they host the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, TVA SPORTS, CITY), would have to tighten their play in their end regardless of who was playing defense in order to get their season back on track.
"I think it would've been that even if we would've been healthy because I don't think since the beginning of the year we've been as stingy as we have been in the past," Julien said. “So that's kind of been a little bit of an issue. And when you're having to play from behind, that's not a great situation either. So when we're stingy we're good because when we're stingy we're not giving them much and we're playing with the puck a lot more. Which was the case [Thursday]. I mean, we had the puck a lot more than the other team did. Now the results of the amount of scoring chances, the goals that we scored, may not have been where I think most people would've expected it to be. But we have to start somewhere and I think being stingy and doing a better job like we did [Thursday] of protecting what we call the house is a good way to start."
The Bruins enter play Saturday tied for 13th in the NHL in goals allowed per game at 2.50.
Defensemen Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky and Joe Morrow have filled in after being recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League during the past week. Morrow made his NHL debut against the Sabres.
"For a guy that played in his first NHL game, the last thing he looked was nervous," Julien said of Morrow. "He was so calm and made good plays. And yeah, he made a few mistakes, but everybody else during the course of the game [does]. I thought he handled himself well for a first game."
Just as the Bruins' young defensemen are trying to do what needs to be done to remain in the NHL, Ottawa center Curtis Lazar is trying to do the same thing. Assuming he plays against the Bruins on Saturday, Lazar it will be his eighth game; the Senators have to decide before Lazar plays in his 10th game if he stays in the NHL or is returned to junior hockey, which would delay the start of his entry-level contract.
Lazar has been playing on a line with forwards Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman.
"The big thing for us is our skating," Lazar told the Ottawa Citizen on Friday. "We're able to put pressure on the [defense] and generate some offense."
The Bruins and Senators did not have morning skates because the Dalai Lama held an event at TD Garden. Here are the projected lineups:
Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan
Milan Michalek - Mika Zibanejad - Alex Chiasson
Zack Smith - David Legwand - Chris Neil
Mike Hoffman - Curtis Lazar - Mark Stone
Chris Phillips - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci
Patrick Wiercioch - Eric Gryba
Scratched: Colin Greening, Erik Condra, Andrew Hammond
Injured: Mark Borowiecki (undisclosed), Marc Methot (back/hip)
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Seth Griffith
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Simon Gagne
Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton
Joe Morrow - Adam McQuaid
David Warsofsky - Zach Trotman
Scratched: Matt Fraser, Matt Bartkowski
Injured: Zdeno Chara (knee), Kevan Miller (shoulder), Torey Krug (finger)
Status report: Borowiecki didn't travel to Boston, according to the Ottawa Sun. ... Lehner's wife gave birth to son Lennox on Thursday. Coach Paul MacLean did not announce a starting goaltender for Saturday, but Lehner should at least dress after he was scratched Thursday. ... Gryba is scheduled to play his 100th NHL game. ... Marchand, Bergeron and Smith practiced together Friday after they didn't play together Thursday. Julien said that line might start the game but won't necessarily remain together the entire game.
Who's hot: Ryan has two goals and two assists in his past four games. ... Zibanejad scored his first goal of the season Thursday. ... Marchand had two goals and one assist against Buffalo on Thursday; he had one goal in the Bruins' first 11 games.