Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo.
GOLD STAR: Linus Ullmark clearly wasn’t at his best during the preseason, but it was a different story making his debut during the regular season for the Boston Bruins against his old Buffalo Sabres club. Ullmark stopped 15 shots in the first period while the B’s counter-punched for a pair of goals in the first period and made a show-stopping save on Dylan Cozens after the Sabres forward appeared to beat him five hole. Instead, Ullmark kicked the puck away with the back of his left leg pad after the puck went through the opening in his legs. It may have looked lucky, but goaltenders are in the right position to be lucky more often than not in their puck-stopping careers. The Sabres finally snapped the shutout with a little more than five minutes to go in the third period, but that was as close as Ullmark would allow them to get in the game. It was 35 saves in all for Ullmark, including this beauty.
Linus making his Ullmark pic.twitter.com/eoV1vC3dvU
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) October 22, 2021
BLACK EYE: Embarrassing performance for the Buffalo Sabres fan base barely showing up in numbers for a hockey team that got off to a 3-0-0 start this season. It was a sad friends and family crowd of 7, 820 fans on a Friday night, and they lamely tried to boo Taylor Hall throughout the night. Instead, Hall finished with the empty net goal to ice the game late in the third period after beating an icing call and posted a pair of points and a plus-2 rating in a strong night for Boston’s second line. And Sabres fans once again watched their team get kicked around by the Black and Gold in an Atlantic Division matchup that’s repeated over and over through most of the last decade. Certainly, the Boston Bruins didn’t look like they were approaching the Sabres with any more respect than they usually do in throwing the body around.
Apparently the Bruins weren’t that impressed with Buffalo’s 3-0-0 start pic.twitter.com/gHJi7pYIBL
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) October 23, 2021
TURNING POINT: It was all about the first period for the Bruins as they rode out some pretty strong Sabres shifts where they were getting scoring chances by the bench, but Ullmark made 15 saves and the Bruins were on their way to blocking a whopping 22 shots. They emptied the tank defensively fronting shots and protecting the house around the net, and clearly got the message that the Bruins needed to defend better after a rough loss in Philly. Once they held strong and exited the first period with a 2-0 lead, it was difficult for the Sabres to really generate the same prolonged waves of attack moving forward. The Bruins withstood Buffalo’s best punch and counter-punched their way to a first period victory that earned them the two points.
HONORABLE MENTION: Dominant game for David Pastrnak, who got the Boston Bruins on the board in the first period and really gave the Sabres defense all kinds of problems early in the game. Midway through the first period, Pastrnak had all four shots on net for the Black and Gold as the rest of the group was a little more slow-going. But eventually Pastrnak scored on a great shift where Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each touched the puck before his scoring shot, and then Pastrnak drew a hooking call in the second period that set up Charlie Coyle’s PP score. In all he finished with a team-high six shots on net and eight shot attempts in 16:39 of ice time and was the biggest difference-maker for the B’s offensively.
BY THE NUMBERS: $6.99 – the price per month for ESPN+, which Boston Bruins needed to pay in order to watch Friday night’s Bruins/Sabres game either on the ESPN streaming channel or on Hulu. Predictably, there was a lot of grumbling from Boston Bruins fans that the game wasn’t on NESN. The next Hulu/ESPN+ game is going to be the Black Friday matinee after Thanksgiving, which could really raise the saltiness level with B’s fans.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s definitely going to be one of those lifelong memories, for sure. It was very special.” –Linus Ullmark on getting his first Boston Bruins win against his former Buffalo Sabres team.