Center Patrice Bergeron will take a three-game multi-goal streak into Sunday night’s game when the Boston Bruins host the Buffalo Sabres in the back half of a home-and-home following the Christmas break.
Bergeron scored two goals in Boston’s 3-0 victory over the Sabres on Friday in Buffalo, becoming the fifth player in Bruins history to score at least two goals in three consecutive games and the first since Cam Neely did it in 1988-89. Phil Esposito did it five times.
“Right now, it’s going in for him,” said Boston coach Bruce Cassidy.
“There was a stretch about a month ago where it seemed like he couldn’t buy a goal. He was in great spots, goalies were making saves, but it was off the net or not quite high enough (or) off the post. Sometimes if you get enough volume from good spots, eventually they’re going to go in.”
Bergeron has nine goals in nine games since returning from a lower-body injury and now has 17 goals in 30 games.
“It’s one of those things where at times pucks are going in, get some puck luck, and other times it doesn’t,” Bergeron said.
“To me it’s always about details, making sure I play the right way, and that’s where we’re at as a line. If the puck’s not going in, you want to contribute and make sure you play the right way. And when it does, you want to keep doing that.”
It was also a milestone win for goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who stopped 26 shots while picking up 50th career shutout and third of the season, moving him into a tie for first place in the NHL.
“It’s special,” said Halak, who improved to 10-1-0 with four shutouts in his last 11 starts against the Sabres. “But it’s a team win right now. We needed points and we got the points. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was 3-2 or 3-1 or whatever.”
The Atlantic Division-leading Bruins are an NHL best 13-1-8 at home this season, including a 3-2 win over the Sabres on Nov. 21 behind two goals by Brad Marchand. Buffalo, meanwhile, is just 6-11-4 on the road.
The loss Friday night was a costly one for the Sabres, who announced Saturday that left wing Jeff Skinner, who scored a career-high 40 goals last season, will be sidelined three to four weeks with an upper-body injury suffered in a third-period collision with David Pastrnak. Skinner has scored 11 goals to go with eight assists this season.
One player who might enjoy the change of venue is Jack Eichel. The Sabres center, who has 24 goals (tied for second through Friday’s game), has managed just one assist and no goals in eight career games against the Bruins in games played in Buffalo but has five goals and six assists in seven road games against Boston.
“They’re a great team defensively,” Eichel said after Friday’s loss. “Obviously we knew that going in. They do a great job taking care of the front of their net, they keep you outside. That’s their game (and) they do a good job of it.”
Said Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger: “We’ve got no time to feel sorry for ourselves here. What we’ve got to do is come out and get these points back in Boston.”
–Field Level Media