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No McAvoy And Krug? No Problem For Bruins: Report Card vs Sabres

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Missing two of their top-four defensemen, the Boston Bruins rode brilliant games from Jaro Halak in net, Brandon Carlo on the blue line and Patrice Bergeron to win the first game of a home-and-home set with the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. 

Halak made 26 saves for his third shutout of the season; Bergeron scored two goals for the third straight game and Carlo stepped up playing on the first pairing with Zdeno Chara in the absence of Charlie McAvoy. Carlo played a game-high 26:22 and scored his fourth goal of the season. Brad Marchand extended his team lead in assists to 38 with three helpers and David Pastrnak assisted on both Bergeron goals as well.

The two Atlantic Division rivals will now meet again at TD Garden in Boston Sunday night but before then here’s a look back on the Bruins second win of the season against the Sabres and second straight win overall after losing four straight.

Pairs In Threes For Bergeron

Bergeron became just the fifth player in team history and first since Bruins President Cam Neely accomplished the feat in the 1988-89 season to score two goals in three consecutive games. Since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out for seven straight games, and two prior to that, Bergeron has nine lamplighters in nine games and an assist as well. Whatever the doctors and training staff gave him while he was out, they need to keep giving the Bruins 34-year-old center because he is playing his best hockey of the season and arguably some of his best in the last few years!

As anyone who follows him and the team knows though, Bergeron isn’t all about points and prides himself even more on his defensive play and as perfect a 200-foot game as he can play game in and game out. That was no different Friday in Buffalo as Bergeron won 64 percent of the faceoffs he took going 16-9 at the dot and finished a plus 2. 

“At times, the puck is going in. You get some puck luck…to me, it’s always about details and playing the right way,” the humble Bergeron told reporters after the game.

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Halak With Another Milestone

After earning a shutout in his 500th career game December 3 with a 24-save performance in a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Halak earned his 50th career shutout and third of the season with a 26-save outing at Buffalo Friday. Halak was huge in the first period, stopping all eleven Sabres shots, including a glove save on a Marcus Johansson blast as the former Bruin broke in alone late in the opening frame. Halak basically owns the Sabres as he has shut them out four times and is now 12-3-0 with a 2.12 GAA and .922 save percentage in his last 15 starts against them.

 

Carlo Shoulders The Load 

With no McAvoy or Krug and Zdeno Chara playing in his first game back after missing the team’s last game thanks to another procedure on his jaw, the Bruins leaned heavily on Carlo and the 6’5, 212 rearguard delivered in a big way. As mentioned above he led all skaters in the game with 26:22 TOI and not only did he score and have five shots on net but he was an absolute beast defensively. He blocked three shots and as he usually does, cut down scoring lanes and cleared players out in front of Halak. Carlo is having his best season yet, combining his brilliant stay-at-home game with some offensive punch as he now has four goals and eight assists.

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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