The Boston Bruins began 2022 on a high note with a 4-3 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
With the win, the Bruins moved to 15-10-2, while the Sabres fell to 10-17-6.
You can check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
The Bruins, at times, looked like a team that hadn’t played in over two weeks. There was bound to be rust, but you’d think over the course of the last 16 days they’d figure out how to get the power play moving.
They didn’t, and it was obvious by the 0-for-4 showing on the man-advantage. Each power play came during a crucial time when the Bruins could tie the game or take the lead, but for whatever reason they could not capitalize.
It’s not as if the Sabres have a stellar penalty kill, either. They came into Saturday’s game ranked 20th in the NHL.
If the Bruins want to win games, they need to find ways to be able to score when they have the extra skater.
Yes, the Bruins ultimately came away with a win, but they never would have been in that position to begin with had they been able to take advantage on the power play.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Head coach Bruce Cassidy wanted Taylor Hall to get going offensively, and he, along with the rest of the Bruins, came to life in the third period.
Boston began to play with urgency, and it led to Nick Foligno scoring his first goal as a member of the Bruins, and Hall scoring the game-tying goal just 1:25 later. It was a confident showing of puck movement from Hall, who waited for Erik Haula to drive the net before cashing in to make it 3-3.
It also was Hall’s first 5-on-5 goal since Oct. 20.
— Playing on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, Craig Smith made the most of the opportunity. The forward tied the game 1-1 in the second period when he backhanded the rebound past Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. The goal certainly should make team president Cam Neely happy after he called for the Bruins to score greasy goals, and that’s exactly what Smith did with his net-front presence on the play.
— Charlie Coyle had an absolute snipe of an overtime goal just 34 seconds into the extra period to give the Bruins their first win of 2022. Coyle was playing in his natural third line center position, and it paid dividends in the end.
— Jake DeBrusk also deserves an honorable mention for the way he played Saturday. He had jump all game and wasn’t afraid to drive the net. It certainly was the most confident he’s played since his trade request became public. DeBrusk finished with an assist and four shots on goal.
DraftKings Sportsbooks had Buffalo winger Alex Tuch at +340 to score while Smith was +285. If you took one, or both of those bets, you had a good day.
UP NEXT ON NESN
The Bruins get right back to action Sunday afternoon when they travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings at 1 p.m. ET. You can catch an hour of pre- and postgame coverage beginning at 12 p.m. on NESN.