The Boston Bruins had their win streak snapped at six games as they lost 6-4 to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night in Buffalo. The Bruins came out strong, unravelled for the better part of the game before making a late surge to erase a 5-1 deficit that fell short.
Sam Reinhart had a hat trick for the Sabres, Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and an assist and rookie defenseman Mattias Samuelsson had two helpers. In his first NHL start, Sabres rookie goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was shaky down the stretch but finished with 36 saves for his first career NHL win.
For the Boston Bruins, defenseman Steven Kampfer was one of the lone bright spots with a goal and two assists in probably his best performance in the last ten years. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist and Nick Ritchie and Kevan Miller (in his first game back after missing five games with cellulitis) both scored for the Bruins. Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 24 of 28 saves before being relieved by Jaro Halak who made four saves on five shots in his first appearance since April 3 due to COVID.
GOLD STAR: Rasmus Dahlin. There’s a very solid chance that the Sabres trade their captain and Chelmsford, MA native Jack Eichel before the 2021-22 season begins next October. If that does indeed happen, one of the main reasons will be that the Sabres have decided to build around budding superstar defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. One would be wise to expect Dahlin to become the next Sabres captain if that’s the case. On Friday, Dahlin showed exactly why this potential scenario could become a reality. With the Sabres on the powerplay thanks to a Matt Grzelcyk tripping call at 15:23 of the first period, Dahlin found Reinhart for his first goal of the game at 15:40 of the opening frame with a beautiful feed.
— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) April 23, 2021
Dahlin then put the Sabres up 2-1 6:54 into the second with his fifth goal of the season with an absolute snipe past Rask.
Two points already for Rasmus Dahlin tonight. pic.twitter.com/yoW65of62A
— NHL (@NHL) April 24, 2021
BLACK EYE: No Patrice Bergeron. After Bergeron didn’t come out for warmups with his teammates, the Boston Bruins announced that the captain would miss his first game of the season due to a lower-body injury. It is believed Bergeron was injured when he blocked a shot with his left foot in the 5-1 win over the Sabres on Thursday night. He returned to finish the game and earn an assist on 21 shifts and 14:52 TOI. While Bergeron’s offense (18g, 23a) was clearly missed, as expected, his 200-foot game was missed more. The Bruins were atrocious in the neutral zone and coming out of the defensive zone. As a result, they allowed the Sabres to take a 3-1 lead after going up 1-0 early in regulation. Charlie Coyle took Bergeron’s spot between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and finished with no points in 16:48. Coyle went 8-11 at the faceoff dot.
TURNING POINT: Casey Mittelstadt scoring to make it 3-1 Sabres. This goal epitomized the collective failure of the Boston Bruins to clear the zone in this game. One of the strong points during their win streak was the quick and precise breakout by the Bruins defensemen. Not only did minimize the Bruins having to defend but it also created offense the other way. When Mittelstadt banked home his ninth goal of the season at 14:17 of the second period it was clear the Bruins were lost and dare we say accepting this just wasn’t their night. They had a nice run but in this COVID season, seven straight wins is a tall task. The wind leaves your sails a lot sooner this season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Sam Reinhart. As mentioned above, Reinhart scored what would be the first of five straight Sabres goals with a powerplay goal 15:40 into the first period. He also scored another powerplay goal and the fifth straight goal by the Sabres 4:30 into the third period to make it 5-1 Sabres and then squashed the Bruins’ comeback with an empty-netter for the hat trick with 42 seconds eft in regulation.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 24, 2021
BY THE NUMBERS: 1,212. The number of days between goals for Miller. His last goal came on December 27, 2017.
QUOTE TO NOTE: ‘It’s tough to win hockey games when you show up for what. …seven to nine minutes of a hockey game.’ – Kampfer giving his the on the game