Bruins veteran Brad Marchand shared before puck drop Sunday how Boston’s result against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center would go a long way in determining the success of the road trip.
Well, it’s safe the Bruins will enjoy their commute back to Boston after a dominant 7-0 victory in Buffalo.
“It’s good to end the road trip this way and it’s great to be shipping back to Boston,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley after the contest.
After dropping their first two games of the five-game trip, and the questions that came with Boston’s unique stumble, the Bruins bounced back for three consecutive wins. Goaltender Jeremy Swayman earned shutouts against both the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and Sabres on Sunday and Boston scored five or more goals in each of its last two games.
“I think we found another wind of energy and we started playing a more complete game, you saw five guys connected in all three zones, and I thought we got better and better each game,” Montgomery said.
The sentiments clearly were mentioned in the locker room.
“I think we knew we had one more and it would have been a good road trip if we got the win tonight and we’re excited to go home so we came out with a lot of jam,” Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton told reporters, as seen on NESN. “It was a great game.”
Swayman added: “I think the biggest thing is just staying in the moment, learning from our mistakes and taking the positives from games that we don’t like the outcomes of. So the last couple games have been a really good positive for our team and the ability that this locker room has to forget about the past and not think about the future, just stay in the moment whistle between whistle, that’s something special.”
Here are more notes from Bruins-Sabres on Sunday:
— Perhaps just as noteworthy as the fact that the Bruins had seven (!) players score goals against the Sabres, Boston also received six points from its defensemen. Charlie McAvoy (goal, assist), Clifton (two assists), Hampus Lindholm (goal) and Jakub Zboril (assist) all contributed to the effort.
“We’re just playing together honestly and we’re scoring a lot of goals, right?” Clifton said. “So it’s just giving the puck to the right people.”
— One specific aspect that Montgomery was hoping to see Sunday was how Boston managed the puck given how Buffalo defends. The Black and Gold held the advantage in both takeaways and giveaways against the Sabres.
“In particular, we were looking to hold on to pucks with the way they defend and have support in the middle of the ice, below it, going to the goal line and then above it,” Montgomery said. “I thought we did a really good job managing the puck tonight.”
— Zboril returned to the lineup for the first time since February 23. He didn’t show much rust as he assisted on a first-period goal by Garnet Hathaway.
“I thought he was dynamite,” Montgomery said of Zboril, who played 18:34. “His energy and his fresh legs were very noticeable. I thought he broke up a lot of plays and obviously he made a lot of crisp passes.”
— Trent Frederic was itching to get into something and finally was granted that opportunity midway through the second period. After a pair of skirmishes, Frederic dropped the gloves with Buffalo’s Dylan Cozens. The bout left a bit to be desired, though, as officials broke it up just as Frederic seemed to be finding his footing.
— The Bruins return to the ice Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and you can watch it live on NESN.