Steven Kampfer had perhaps his finest game in a Boston Bruins uniform Friday night.
But his strong showing came in a 6-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Kampfer scored the first goal of the game, then added a pair of assists in the third period for the first three-point game of his 229-game NHL career. From an individual standpoint, that’s something to be happy about for someone who has spent the bulk of their career as a spare defenseman at the NHL level.
He could not care less.
“No (it’s not any consolation), the team winning (would be) the consolation,” Kampfer said after the game over Zoom. “A team win will always trump whatever personal accolades you have. It’s about the team, it’s about the two points, it’s about 20 guys in the room winning.”
Kampfer long has not gotten enough credit for how solid of a shot he has. His wrister is slick, and he’s a fairly efficient puck-mover.
From a human perspective, it’s nice to see Kampfer play so well, even if it came in a losing effort. He busts his keister all the time, seldom with the promise of any NHL ice time. To see the 32-year-old cash in on the opportunities he’s been given is a good story.
Here are some more notes from Friday’s Bruins-Sabres game:
— It had been over three years, but Kevan Miller finally scored a goal.
Never known for his ability to put pucks in the back of the net, Miller — making his return to the lineup after missing five games — had Boston’s third goal Friday. A Kampfer feed from the red line found Miller at the attacking blue line, and he danced through the offensive zone before beating Sabres netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
Similarly to Kampfer, Miller didn’t care about the personal success.
“It was good,” to score, Miller said. “We obviously were making a push, would’ve been nice to finish it off, but nice to score every now and then.”
The last time Miller had scored a goal was Dec. 27, 2017. Friday’s tally was the 13th goal of his 344-game NHL career.
— Jaroslav Halak saw his first game action since April 3 on Friday.
The B’s backup netminder had been in the COVID-19 protocols for weeks but was cleared in time to travel with the team to Buffalo.
He backed up Tuukka Rask, but entered the game shortly after the start of the third period when the Sabres scored their fourth goal. He turned away four of the five shots he saw over 16:53.
In his absence, Charlie Coyle skated on the first line, centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, with Anton Blidh filling the lineup vacancy.
It, obviously, is never easy losing such an impactful player and leader, but the Bruins were quick to say that his absence shouldn’t have sunk them.
“I’m not going to say we lost the game because Bergy wasn’t playing,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “I don’t think he had any effect on guys not being hard enough on pucks or playing a more determined game. That’s on the individual.”
— Bergeron previously had played in every game this season, leaving Nick Ritchie now as the only Bruin to play in all 46 games.
— The Bruins will travel to Pittsburgh on Friday night and won’t practice Saturday. They’ll play the first of two straight contests against the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday, with puck drop set for 3 p.m. ET.
Cassidy indicated that Jeremy Swayman is in line to start Sunday, with Rask penciled in for Tuesday. With Halak seemingly available, however, those plans potentially could change.