Bruins Notes: Secondary Scoring Puts B’s In Win Column Vs. Sabres

'I think the first line has sort of carried us for most of the year'


March 18, 2021

Head coach Bruce Cassidy knew what he was doing when he and his staff came up with the lines for the Bruins’ game in Buffalo on Thursday.

And Boston could afford to give guys they haven’t seen a lot of a shot against a struggling team like the Sabres, who have now lost 13-straight following the 4-1 result.

Greg McKegg replaced Sean Kuraly, who is in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, and netted the first goal of the contest about three minutes in — his first as a member of the Bruins.

That got the team, and Boston’s secondary scoring, going.

“Yeah, I just found out this morning and just tried to stay as ready as I could. Obviously, it’s a weird year, and you never know when your name is going to be called,” McKegg said during his postgame press conference.

“We had a good start and found our legs early, and I think we just tried to keep it simple for the most part. Tried to create momentum for our side.”

Buffalo tied things up in the second period, but Jake Debrusk and Craig Smith took the lead back and then some before the frame ended.

It gave the top line a spark, too, as David Pastrnak added a third-period power-play goal to put the Sabres away for good. But the B’s were happy to see offensive production from its other pairings.

“I think it builds on everybody,” Smith said. “I mean everybody is trying to do their part, everybody is trying to do their role and wanting to chip in and help out. I think the first line has sort of carried us for most of the year and, you know, anytime we get a chance to chip one in and help out, it feels good.”

Now, Cassidy is looking for this game to get some guys back into a grove.

“Hopefully this gives them a bit of a boost offensively,” Cassidy said. “There was a few guys that, you know, things weren’t going their way as much as they’d like. And this could be a game that that helps them sort of springboard a bit of that offense as well.”

Here are some other takeaways from Boston’s win over Buffalo:

— Jack Achan made his NHL debut filling in for Jarred Tinordi, and Cassidy seemed to like that the defenseman played confidently despite being on the biggest stage of his life.

“He was involved in the game, good and bad at times,” Cassidy said. “But I liked that — I liked a player that was willing to be assertive. It’s his first-ever NHL game. Guys are tentative, so he wasn’t. He’s gonna have to learn guys are stronger and quicker here, can strip you of pucks? but I like the fact that he was ready to go offensively, knows what his strengths are.”

— David Krejci assisted Jake Debrusk for a power play goal against Buffalo for the 700th point of his career.

After 15 seasons with the team, he’s the eighth player in franchise history to reach that milestone, and puts him at eighth overall on the Bruins’ all-time points list.

“Congrats to Krejci (on) 700. On to 800 now so good for him,” Cassidy said postgame.

The center had three assists total against Buffalo.

— Speaking of Debrusk, he’s had a good stretch since returning from injury. And Cassidy thinks he deserves to celebrate netting his third goal of the season.

“Jake can be hard on himself too. So, I’m just happy he’s skating. He attacked the net, went there in the third. Again, just doing some little things, trying to turn pucks over in the forecheck. All those little things will lead to more opportunities for him offensively and I thought he was, you know, trying to play a complete game tonight.”

— Trent Frederick blocked a shot late in the first period and left for the remainder of the game. Cassidy revealed postgame that X-rays were negative, but he’ll likely be listed as “day-to-day” moving forward.

— The Bruins will look to stick it to the Sabres again in a Saturday matinee. Puck drop is at 1 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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