The Boston Bruins weren’t deterred by Jack Eichel and the re-energized Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
The Bruins stepped up their defense at KeyBank Center, holding a Sabres team with nine goals in its last two games to just one tally in a 2-1 road win.
Forwards David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron each scored while goaltender Tuukka Rask tallied a season-high 35 saves for Boston, which improved to 14-10-1 with the victory.
The Bruins stifled the Sabres in the first period while opening up an early lead.
Buffalo attempted just three shots in the frame, the fewest by a Boston opponent in a period this season. On the offensive end, the B’s broke through with 5:50 remaining in the first when Krejci redirected a shot from defenseman Brandon Carlo past Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner.
Buffalo thought it had tied the score late in the second period when forward Brian Gionta put the puck past Rask.
But referees waved the goal off after determining Gionta made a distinct kicking motion to score the goal, and the call held up after video review.
The Sabres picked up the pace in the second period, outshooting Boston 15-11 in the frame, but still trailed 1-0 heading into the third period.
HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE
Boston appeared to be on its way to victory at the 7:44 mark of the final frame, when Bergeron jumped on a rebound after a wild bounce to score his fourth goal of the season that put the Bruins up 2-0.
But Buffalo would not go quietly. Less than two minutes after Bergeron’s goal, Evander Kane cut Boston’s lead in half with his first tally of the season.
The Sabres threatened down the stretch with a flurry of scoring chances, but Rask denied them all, making 17 saves in the third frame alone to help Boston hold on for the win.
INJURY BUG BITES AGAIN
The banged-up Bruins suffered another loss in the second period when Matt Beleskey left the game with a lower body injury. The B’s forward went down after a hip check from Sabres defenseman Taylor Fedun and did not return.
Boston already is down two top defenseman in Zdeno Chara and John-Michael Liles.
The Bruins return home Monday for a 7 p.m. ET game against the Florida Panthers, who sit just behind the B’s in the Atlantic Division at 12-10-2 entering Saturday night.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images