Takeaways from the Bruins’ victory over the Sabres

Brad Marchand celebrates the first of his two goals on Thursday night against Buffalo at TD Garden.
Brad Marchand celebrates the first of his two goals on Thursday night against Buffalo at TD Garden.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

In the first period, the loudest cheer from the TD Garden crowd was sarcastic.

The rest were in earnest.

Fighting back from a miserable first period, the Bruins emerged with a 3-2 win on Thursday night, holding off a Buffalo Sabres club that was 2-7-2 the previous month.

Brad Marchand scored twice, and David Pastrnak became the first player to 20 goals this season. In Boston’s 22nd game of the year, Marchand hit the 15-goal mark, making them the first teammates in a decade with 15 each through 22 games.

They were boosted by linemate Patrice Bergeron, who added an assist in his return from a two-game injury absence.


This was the slowest start for the Bruins all season: One puck on net in the first 10 minutes, and four in the opening 20. Yet despite being outshot, 17-4, in the first, they emerged from that opening 20 minutes tied at 1, and finished with a respectable 27 shots. They held off a late charge from Buffalo (10-9-3), who pulled keeper Linus Ullmark with 1:12 to go.

The Bruins (14-3-5), 3-0-3 in their last six, host the Wild on Saturday.

■  The four shots tied Boston’s third period on Nov. 8 at Detroit for their season low. The Sabres recorded the game’s first 14 shots, and that aforementioned Bronx cheer came when Brandon Carlo landed the home team’s first attempt on goal — from the blue line, a try easily handled by Ullmark — 12:11 into the affair.

■  Jack Eichel, who had a pair of four-point games in his first six appearances at TD Garden, set up the first goal with patience in the left circle. He delayed and put a heavy shot on Tuukka Rask, and recorded an assist when Rasmus Ristolainen jammed home the rebound. Ristolainen, the big (6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound) defenseman, was working the old Zdeno Chara net-front spot, and got inside position on Carlo, also a big (6-5, 212) defenseman.


■  The Bruins scored on their second shot of the game. Pastrnak won a puck battle and set up Chara for a point drive. Marchand slipped in front and deflected home his 14th goal of the year at 13:52.

■  Marchand got his second of the night by cleaning up a power-play chance from Matt Grzelcyk with 5:15 to go in the second. The Bruins’ power play, still missing Torey Krug, looked much more formidable with Bergeron back in his usual bumper position. Grzelcyk, who had a strong game, was a reason for that.

■  Pastrnak made it 3-1 at 1:56 of the third, converting on the power play to reach the 20-goal mark for the fourth season in a row.

■  Rask made the save of the game — and one of the best the NHL’s seen all season — at 4:51 of the third. Evan Rodrigues had an empty net, but Rask, without a stick, dived to his right and made a blocker-hand stop to deny the goal. It was a Tim Thomas/Dominik Hasek special. Rask made several excellent stops, including a power-play one-timer on Conor Sheary when the Bruins were up, 2-1, in the second. Jeff Skinner beat him five-hole in the dying seconds of the middle frame, but the puck trickled off the post and out.

■  As good as Rask was, stopping 31 of the first 32 shots he saw, he let in a stinker with 7:02 left. He didn’t track one off the stick of defenseman Brandon Montour, who shot from outside the left circle, and beat him glove side. He finished with 36 saves.


■  With the Bruins getting handled in the first, Chris Wagner took exception to Curtis Lazar’s high shoves on rookie defenseman Urho Vaakanainen after the whistle. The two began trading haymakers.

■  The Bruins shuffled lines in the first two periods partly because of the ineffectiveness of their forwards, but mostly because of an injury to Par Lindholm. The third-line center played just 20 seconds in the first, and 2:14 in the second because of an apparent right leg/knee injury. After tangling in the corner with Rasmus Asplund three minutes into the game, Lindholm threw down his gloves, grabbed at his knee, and hobbled down the tunnel. He later returned, and skated 6:18 in all.

■  The Bruins recognized head athletic trainer Don DelNegro, in his 27th season with the organization, for working his 2,000th game.

Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports