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Sabres fall to Bruins following 1st-period barrage

Okposo score lone goal for Buffalo in 5-1 loss

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Kyle Okposo skated down the left side of the ice and let go of a shot from the faceoff circle to open the scoring at KeyBank Center on Wednesday, a well-earned reward for a strong first 10 minutes by the Sabres against the Boston Bruins. 

The Bruins responded with five straight goals, including four during the final 6:31 of the first period, to earn a 5-1 win. It was the second straight loss for the Sabres in which the game was decided by a barrage of consecutive goals by their opponent. 

Columbus scored three goals in a span of 3:41 on its way to a 7-4 win at KeyBank Center on Monday. 

"Tonight was a product of them just shooting everything," Okposo said. "They made it a point, especially in the first and third, to just throw everything at the net and crash. We just didn't do a good enough job clearing the second opportunities and they were able to cash in on that. 

"The best way to eliminate that is spending more time in the O-zone. We just didn't do it enough in the latter half of the first period and in the third, especially."

Video: BUF Recap: Okposo nets lone goal in a 5-1 defeat

Aaron Dell started in goal for the Sabres and allowed four goals on 22 shots before being replaced by Tokarski to begin the second period. Coach Don Granato had given the start to Dell in part as a mental reset for Tokarski, who had been pulled from his last two starts. 

Despite their high volume of shots during the back half of the opening period, the Bruins generated just two high-danger chances according to counts by Natural Stat Trick. The final count was 5-3 in favor of Boston. 

"Never have I been comfortable as a coach trying to say it's a goaltending thing," Granato said. "Even if at times you thought maybe that could've been a save, you still look at the things that led to that and work to improve those. 

"So, if that's the case and it was a goal that we didn't like, there's other things that we can turn our attention that are within our control to become better at, and we have that opportunity to become better at it. So, this little stretch is exposing us to things that we need to target and become better at, and we will. We will become better at it going through this."

Patrice Bergeron pounced on a rebound after a scramble in the crease to ignite the Boston run. Charlie Coyle tallied the winner just 51 seconds later, sending a shot from the right faceoff circle over the shoulder of Dell and in off the crossbar. 

David Pastrnak was responsible for goal No. 3, a one-timer from the left faceoff circle. Mike Reilly completed the barrage when a shot from the point deflected off net-front traffic and onto the defenseman's stick to the left of the net.

The stretch proved to be enough for the Bruins, who entered the night 7-0-0 when leading after the first period. The Sabres made a push during a 14-shot second period but were outshot 18-3 in the third. Taylor Hall scored the final goal for Boston on a power play with 4:34 remaining.

Video: POSTGAME: Hayden

"Probably half of the game we played hard and we had a ton of chances," said forward John Hayden, who had a penalty shot stopped by Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman during the second period. "We made hard plays when we needed to and creative plays when the opportunity was there. 

"When we got away from that is when they put us on our heels. I thought there was resilience in the game, that was pretty evident. But a competitive team, a lot of competitive guys who are unhappy about the results the last few games. It's gonna come down to consistency."


Tokarski bounces back

Tokarski stopped 24 of 25 shots in relief, including a glove save on Bergeron from in tight.

"He looked like himself in there, which was great after not looking so much like himself last game," Granato said. "That was definitely a positive."


Girgensons assessed game misconduct

Zemgus Girgensons was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for a hit on Charlie McAvoy that sent the Bruins defenseman to the dressing room with 6:14 remaining. 


Up next

The homestand concludes Friday against Montreal. Coverage on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m. with puck drop set for 7.

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