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Hot Bruins look to continue streaks against cold Sabres

Sportsnaut
Nov 5, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark (35) dives to reach a loose puck ahead of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting (58) in the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins will look to extend another team’s losing streak and earn their 10th win in an 11-game span Saturday night when they face the Sabres in Buffalo, N.Y.

The Bruins’ 3-1 win on Thursday ran Calgary’s winless skid to seven games and moved Boston’s home record to a franchise-record-tying 8-0-0.

“It’s just great, isn’t it?” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “It just seems like, for whatever reason, the stars are falling in line here.”

The Bruins can set the record for the best home start in franchise history on Sunday against Vancouver, but the first challenge of a back-to-back set comes at Buffalo, which has lost four in a row.

Boston checked off plenty of boxes on Thursday.

Defensemen Connor Clifton and Charlie McAvoy scored their first goals of the season, David Pastrnak netted his ninth, and Linus Ullmark became the first NHL goalie to reach the 10-win mark while frustrating the Flames on all six chances with the power play.

McAvoy, who missed the first 13 games of the season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, scored the game-winning goal late in the second period.

“TLC, baby,” McAvoy said of what the Bruins provided him and Brad Marchand, who both returned early following their offseason procedures. “Confidence, mostly, in where you’re at and the hard work you’ve done.”

The goals by Clifton and McAvoy added even further depth to the Boston offense. A whopping 18 Bruins skaters have scored so far this season.

McAvoy adds another dimension to the Bruins’ game.

“He’s fun to watch. It’s a lot more fun coaching with him than against him,” Montgomery said. “Just his skating, his ability to create, how many pucks he kept alive in the offensive zone by pinching pucks on walls and then carrying them down and making possession plays.”

The Sabres took a 7-4 Thursday defeat against Vegas, their second loss during a four-game homestand.

“Learn from it, obviously, and move on,” forward Tage Thompson said. “We have a good stretch of playing against good teams. Every night is going to be a challenge and that’s something we need to be prepared for.”

Changing their fortunes against Boston will indeed be a challenge: The Sabres were swept in last season’s four-game series and are 1-14-0 in head-to-head games with the Bruins over the past three seasons.

Thompson scored twice against the Golden Knights, becoming the first Sabres player to reach the 10-goal mark in 14 games or fewer since Thomas Vanek in 2012.

The Sabres trailed just 3-2 after two periods, but a four-goal third period for Vegas was decisive. Coach Don Granato said he thought the team’s youth showed in finishing that game.

“We looked like a young team tonight,” Granato said. “Pretty simple. And the more experienced guys didn’t lead the way they should have. They’ll self-correct.”

There have been positive signs despite recent struggles, as Buffalo has scored a power-play goal in eight consecutive games.

Granato says he is not concerned.

“There’s no reason to not be confident,” Granato said. “This league can beat you up. My thought is we have a choice. If you want to get beat up by it, you get beat up by it. If you want to move on, you move on. … I think that’s what this group has done a real good job at.”

–Field Level Media