BOSTON – Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 4-3 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres keyed by a Charlie Coyle game-winner at TD Garden on New Year’s Day.
GOLD STAR: There were some excellent efforts across the board with star players like Brad Marchand (game-winning assist) and Charlie McAvoy (three assists), but it was Nick Foligno that really typified what happened during the game. Foligno wasn’t able to bury a couple of Grade-A chances in the first two periods on net-front power play chances, but he stuck with it and finally buried one on the rebound in the third period on Jake DeBrusk’s drive to the net. Foligno finished with three shots on net, five shot attempts overall and truthfully could have had two or three goals in his 11:54 of ice time before scoring his first as a member of the Boston Bruins. Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy also credited Foligno with continuing to talk on the bench even when the B’s were trailing 3-1 in the third period prior to their comeback.
BLACK EYE: Anders Bjork had a pretty good reminder performance as to why the Boston Bruins were okay giving him up in the Taylor Hall trade with the Buffalo Sabres. He took an offensive zone boarding penalty on Curtis Lazar, finished with zero shots on net and really wasn’t much of a factor in his 8:42 of ice time for the Sabres. Buffalo had some very good performers in the first half of the hockey game including Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch was excellent getting into the flow of being a member of the Sabres. But Bjork is one of a number of ex-Boston Bruins forwards that they’ve traded away that really haven’t done much to make the B’s regret dealing them.
TURNING POINT: The biggest turning point for the Bruins was Taylor Hall’s first even-strength goal since the opening week of the NHL season. Hall entered the offensive zone with speed, utilized an Erik Haula net drive and then patiently ripped one top corner past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for the game-tying goal midway through the third period. It brought the Boston Bruins all the way back from a disappointing opening 40 minutes of the game and also flipped the script for much of 2021 with an excellent third period of work for the Black and Gold. Perhaps best of all it reminds Hall the kinds of things he’s capable of when generating offense between the hash marks in the slot area. Hall finished with a goal, seven shot attempts and looked solid skating with David Pastrnak on his right wing as the Boston Bruins coaching staff threw out new forward lines for this one.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk had a whale of a game for the Boston Bruins even if he didn’t wind up with a goal. It was DeBrusk that carried the puck with speed and determination all the way to the net in the third period, created a rebound after a shot on the Buffalo net and left the loose puck for Nick Foligno to patiently backhand into the net for a goal that got the B’s going in the third period. DeBrusk had several other Grade-A chances during the game on fast, focused drives to the net and finished with five shot attempts in 12:50 of ice time. Quite honestly, if there were NHL scouts in the building watching DeBrusk’s game on Saturday afternoon then there could definitely be interest drummed up for the left winger that wants to play elsewhere these days. He was very, very good playing with speed and a little bit of grit.
Nick Foligno has his first as a Bruin.
Great trip through the neutral zone and net drive by Jake DeBrusk as well. pic.twitter.com/QCacurz8VO
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) January 1, 2022
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of goals for Nick Foligno as he finally scored the first of his Bruins career to spark the Bruins third period comeback on the rebound of a Jake DeBrusk drive to the net. It was one of several Grade-A chances for the veteran forward during a very good game for him.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “This is like a new season for me, it feels like.” –Nick Foligno, on coming back from the holiday break and the COVID protocol postponements with a new outlook on the season after scoring a goal.