December 21, 2013

Rask, Krejci key B's win over Sabres

By Jesse Connolly

Dennis Seidenberg congratulates Tuukka Rask after the B's netminder nailed down his 18th win of the season. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 4, Buffalo 1

Recap: The Bruins allowed the Sabres to score an all-too-rare first-period goal for the second game in a row, but not before getting on the board first. Carl Soderberg had a sweet setup for Reilly Smith on the man advantage (as if we haven't heard that line a number of times in the first half of the year), and No. 18 fired it past Jhonas Enroth to give the B's a 1-0 lead midway through the opening frame.

A late goal by Zemgus Girgensons made it 1-1 heading into the intermission, as the former UVM commit tucked a shot from close range between the post and Tuukka Rask's blocker side. 

In the second, Boston took a 2-1 lead on a silky smooth, top-shelf wrister by David Krejci, with Jarome Iginla getting the lone assist. Their line struck again in the third, as Milan Lucic made it a two-goal game 5:18 into the final frame, firing home a nice feed from Krejci -- who was along the far half-wall. Smith iced it with an empty-netter at the 19:38 mark.

Records: Boston 24-10-2, 50 points; Buffalo 9-24-3, 21 points

Key Play of the Game: Early in the third period, the Sabres had two golden chances to tie things up. Rask denied Matt Ellis before robbing Buffalo newcomer Linus Omark's put-back bid. Shortly after that sequence, Lucic scored to ice the game.

Connolly's Commendations: Krejci picked up his third multi-point game in the last five contests with a goal and an assist in the victory. The Czech center has topped the 20-minute mark for ice time in each of Boston's last three contests.

Girgensons' goal late in the first was a little on the flukey side, but from there, Rask was a rock. In addition to his huge stops on Ellis and Omark in the third, he made another 12 in the final 20 minutes to keep Buffalo at bay, finishing the night with 34 saves.

Connolly's Critiques: If/when the Bruins get healthy, I just can not fathom Jordan Caron sticking around the big club -- even as the 13th forward. There are simply better options. The fourth-year pro was gulty of an illegal check to head on Omark in the third which gave Buffalo life. He finished the contest without a point, extending his drought to 16 games.

Notes: Smith's second goal moved him into a tie with Lucic for second on the team with 25 points (11g, 14a). ... The Bruins now own a 2-1 lead in the season series. ... Brad Marchand left the ice twice with apparent lower-body injuries but finished the contest.

Final Thoughts: The B's were guilty of allowing the Sabres to hang around for a wee-bit too long, as this was still a one-goal game until Lucic made it 3-1 in the third, but Boston ultimately took care of business and made up for their loss in Buffalo Thursday night.

Next: The Bruins will travel to Nashville to take on the Predators Monday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ