After ending the second period on a high note, the Sabres once again entered the third period with confidence, but quickly lost momentum.
Entering their first game without Jeff Skinner, who will miss 3-4 weeks due to a shoulder injury, Buffalo’s (17-16-7) special teams failed to play a key role, as well as their power play advantages (now 1- for 9 against the Bruins, who lead the Atlantic Division).
David Pastrnak struck first for the Bruins (24-7-9), scoring his 29th of the season late in the first period at 12:39, off a pass from teammate Brad Marchand. Although the Sabres led the period in shots on goal, 7-2, they left the ice down to start the night.
Rasmus Ristolainen tied the game on a 2-on-1 off a pass from Sam Reinhart at 6:37 in the second period. It appeared as though Tukka Rask made the save but Johan Larsson, who returned to the lineup tonight, bumped into Zdeno Chara, causing the puck to slide across the goal line. Buffalo held the tie, killing off three penalties throughout the rest of the period.
In the third, Larsson was sent to the penalty box with two two-minute minors for tripping and hooking — allowing Jake DeBrusk to score a pair of power-play goals just 18 seconds apart. The first goal came at 2:37, putting Boston ahead 2-1. The second was scored with the help of Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark, as DeBrusk tapped in a soft pass between Ullmark’s pad and the right goal post. Buffalo was quick to answer back at 5:08, with a goal from Curtis Lazar, who returned to the roster from the Rochester Americans Friday night.
Although the Sabres were on the power play within the final four minutes of the game, they were unable to capitalize and fell to the Bruins, 3-2. Boston’s win gave them the 3-0 series lead against the Sabres this season, with another matchup on March 13th in Buffalo. This was Buffalo’s third consecutive loss.
Buffalo will return home to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the last matchup of the year, and decade, Tuesday night.