The Boston Bruins looked well on their way to victory Saturday night, but a furious Buffalo Sabres comeback sent the B’s home with a sour taste in their mouth.
The Bruins held a three-goal lead on two separate occasions at TD Garden, but the Sabres rode the momentum of a tremendous third period to win the game 5-4 in overtime.
Boston received two goals apiece from Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, but the star wingers’ pair of tallies weren’t enough to give the B’s a second straight home win.
With the loss, the Bruins fall to 3-3-1, while the Sabres improve to 2-5-2.
Here’s how it all went down:
DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PRETTY
The Bruins are loaded with skilled players, but sometimes grit and toughness create better results than finesse.
The Sabres nearly jumped out to an early lead when Anton Khudobin mishandled a puck behind the net. But luckily for the Bruins goaltender, Zdeno Chara was there to clean up the mess with some impressive footwork.
While Buffalo couldn’t capitalize on its golden opportunity, Boston made sure it didn’t suffer the same unfortunate fate as its Atlantic Division foe. Roughly seven minutes into the period, Pastrnak and Tim Schaller teamed up for a crafty rush, but initially were stonewalled by Sabres goalie Robin Lehner. Pastrnak would not be denied, though, as he eventually slid the puck into the net to put the B’s on the board.
The Sabres’ rough period got even more frustrating less than two minutes later. Following a sloppy faceoff in Buffalo’s zone, Marchand pounced on a loose puck with a backhand that snuck into the net despite Lehner getting some leather on it.
The Sabres’ offense really struggled in the first period, as Boston held a 13-6 advantage in shots in the opening 20 minutes.
There was no shortage of lighting the lamp in the second stanza.
Marchand extended the Bruins’ lead to 3-0 just 37 seconds into the frame when he absolutely ripped a wrist shot off the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Marchand’s tally was matched by an equally impressive wrister from Jason Pominville less than eight minutes later. After the Sabres fought the puck away from Schaller, Pominville zipped one past Khudobin’s glove side for Buffalo’s first goal of the game.
After watching Marchand notch his second goal of the game, Pastrnak made sure to match his fellow winger. The 21-year-old capped off a slick offensive series by the Bruins with a quick strike past Lehner at the 11:22 mark.
The Sabres were able to cut the deficit back to two later in the period thanks to Jack Eichel. After Marco Scandella fired a shot off Khudobin, the Boston University product took advantage of a juicy rebound for the Sabres’ second goal.
The Sabres played their best hockey of the game when it mattered most.
Just under seven minutes into the third period, former Bruin Benoit Pouliot cut Boston’s lead to one when he jumped all over a loose puck in the middle of the zone, beating Khudobin with a glove-side snipe.
Boston appeared to be on its way to a win after killing a Buffalo power play with minutes remaining in regulation. But just over two minutes left in the third period, Evander Kane backhanded a loose puck which banked off Torey Krug’s leg and into the back of the Bruins’ net.
The Bruins and Sabres traded exciting rushes in the opening minutes of the overtime period, but Buffalo ultimately delivered the final blow. After a mini-collision in front of the Bruins’ net knocked over Khudobin, Ryan O’Reilly sent the Sabres home with a game-winning backhanded goal.
The Bruins return to the ice Thursday night when they host the San Jose Sharks. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images